Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)
PrEP is an HIV prevention method for people who do not have HIV but want to reduce their risk of becoming infected with the virus. This once daily pill, when used consistently, has been shown to very effectively reduce the risk of HIV infection among adult men and women at high risk for HIV infection. The World Health Organization recommends offering PrEP to all people who have a signficiant risk of HIV infection.
Read our Position Statement on PrEP.
In February 2016, Health Canada approved a drug called Truvada to be used for PrEP. Currently, PrEP is covered by a limited number of private insurance companies, but not by the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan. We are now waiting for decisions on how PrEP will be covered by both private and provincial drug plans in Canada. Some Canadians are also ordering generic versions of PrEP from overseas and picking up their prescriptions in the United States. See here.
HIV Community Link has a shortlist of physicians in Calgary that are open to prescribing PrEP to clients in their practice. For more info about these options, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What Else Do You Need to Know About PrEP?
It’s important to know that receiving a prescription for PrEP is not as simple as going to a clinic and walking out with a bottle of Truvada. Taking PrEP involves developing a relationship with your healthcare provider and requires ongoing follow-up. This starts with setting up a “meet and greet” appointment to sit down with the doctor and have a conversation about if PrEP is right for you. Before you receive a prescription, you will also need to have blood work done, including HIV testing. Bloodwork, as well as HIV and STI testing should be done every 3 months when on PrEP.
Is PrEP Right For You?
Taking PrEP means building a relationship with your doctor where you can speak openly and honestly about activities that may increase your risk of HIV and other STIs, your ability to take your meds regularly without missing doses, and other questions or concerns about your overall health. PrEP is an important and effective tool in the HIV prevention toolbox.