HIV Medicine (s100)

GPs Dr Christopher Kearney, Dr Damien Polioudakis and Dr Tim Johnston are accredited s100 HIV community prescribers.  This means they are GPs authorised to prescribe highly specialised HIV medication called antiretroviral therapy (ART) and have advanced training and experience in providing care to people at risk of HIV or people living with HIV (PLHIV).  They maintain close links with local specialist and HIV services in Melbourne and participate in regular continuing professional development activities and education.

GPs play a vital role in primary and preventative health care for PLHIV.  HIV is now considered a manageable chronic condition requiring lifelong treatment.  HIV treatments have changed dramatically over the years and can now offer PLHIV a long and healthy life.  Electing to have your health care managed here by an accredited GP s100 HIV community prescriber means all your general medical care and HIV care can be integrated and managed by the one doctor.  This leads to better health outcomes through improved coordination and continuity of your health care management needs.

Victoria Harbour Medical Centre is an inclusive health service and our GPs are committed to providing a comprehensive and confidential medical service.  We also provide PrEP and PEP consultations on an appointment system:

  • PrEP can be prescribed by any GP.
  • PEP consultations can only be provided by s100 GPs, sexual health clinics and from the Emergency Department of most public hospitals. Do not book an online appointment for a PEP consultation with one of our s100 GPs.  If you think you need PEP please call and let us know you need a PEP appointment and we will always try and prioritise you or recommend referral to another PEP service.  You can also call the PEP hotline on tel 1800 889 887 for more information.

As we a private billing medical centre, standard consultation fees apply for all services.

If you would like to transfer your HIV care to one of our GP s100 HIV community prescribers please book a long (30 minute) appointment.

Find out more about our HIV services below.

Medication used to treat HIV is called antiretroviral therapy or ART.

HIV treatment has greatly improved over the years.  Studies have shown that there is a real benefit to early treatment with ART.  Standard ART consists of the combination of antiretroviral medication to maximally suppress the HIV virus to stop the progression of HIV disease.  ART also prevents onward transmission of HIV.

Australian and international treatment guidelines recommends ART for all PLHIV as soon as possible after diagnosis.  ART will make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of PLHIV.

PLHIV require regular monitoring of their immune function and require more intense monitoring after starting or changing ART.  Once stable, however, six monthly reviews of your HIV care are considered sufficient.  At these review visits with your doctor adherence, adverse effects and possible medication interactions are also checked.  Periodic blood and urine tests are also performed during these review consultations.

Commencing ART is a personal decision and one that you should discuss with your doctor.

ART is classified as a “Section 100 (s 100)” highly specialised drug under the National Health Act, meaning that there are restrictions on prescribing these medicines in Australia.

Only GPs with advanced training and who have been accredited by the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) and approved by the Department of Health are authorised to prescribe ART in Victoria.

GP s100 HIV community prescribers maintain close links with other HIV services in Melbourne and participate in regular continuing professional development activities and education.

To find a s100 prescriber in your state/territory click here.

* HIV Rapid Tests are not available at our medical centre

The Victorian HIV Treatment Program is now in effect in Victoria.

Under this new program in Victoria, people with HIV without Medicare can receive their treatment through public hospital pharmacies or Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (if they are an existing client).

If medication is received through a hospital pharmacy, a copayment may be charged at the discretion of the hospital. Under the Program, HIV treatment must be dispensed from a public hospital pharmacy or Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (if an existing client).

If this is difficult for you because of distance or other factors, you can contact the hospital pharmacy to discuss other access options. You can find contact information for public hospitals here.

There is no need for people with HIV without Medicare to change their doctor to access the scheme, unless their current doctor is not authorised to prescribe HIV treatment, in which case they should be referred to one who is.

PrEP is not PEP. What is the difference?

  • Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is a 28 day course of HIV medication taken daily in people who are HIV-negative and have experienced a single event where they have had a known, or possible, high risk HIV exposure.  This is also known as NPEP or Non-Occupational Post-Exposure Prophylaxis.  To be effective at preventing HIV infection, PEP must be taken as soon as possible but definitely within 72 hours (3 days) after the episode of exposure.  Whether or not you need PEP depends on how high the risk was.  PEP consultations can be completed by a s100 GP or sexual health clinic.  Melbourne metro access to PEP is available from local metro sexual health clinics during business hours and x4 major metro hospital emergency departments after hours and on weekends.  Click here to find Victorian based PEP services.

PEP is intended to prevent HIV infection if exposure events are not frequent or just happened one time.  If you have taken multiple courses of PEP in a short time, you should think about PrEP, as it works better for people who are potentially exposed to HIV on a regular basis.

HIVTest.au provides free HIV self-testing kits to people living in Australia aged over 18 years.

Like other HIV tests, the HIV self-testing kit may not detect HIV that has been acquired in the last three months. This is called the window period. If you think you may have acquired HIV in the last three months, it is important to speak to a doctor or visit a sexual health clinic.  In extremely rare cases, the HIV self-testing kit may return a reactive result when HIV is not present (this is known as a false positive result). If you get a reactive result, it is important you have a a confirmatory test ordered by a doctor.

Victoria Harbour Medical Centre is a private billing medical centre.

  • No Medicare: Full fee applies.
  • Medicare card holder: Co-payment fee applies.
  • DVA Gold Card holder: Bulk billed and no payment required.  

Click here for our fee schedule.