Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is the use of HIV medication by someone who is HIV-negative, in advance of a potential exposure to HIV, with the aim of preventing HIV infection. When taken daily, PrEP can significantly decrease the likelihood of an HIV infection occurring.
In February 2016, Health Canada approved the daily use of the drug Truvada as PrEP, in combination with safer sex practices, to reduce the risk of sexual HIV transmission for people at high risk of HIV infection. This approval was a necessary step towards increasing access to PrEP in Canada. However, for PrEP to have an impact on preventing new HIV infections, it needs to be available. The medication most commonly used as PrEP is emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF/FTC). Originally manufactured by Gilead Sciences under the brand name Truvada, Health Canada has recently approved several generic versions of TDF/FTC as well.
PrEP is covered by some forms of insurance by some providers in some provinces, however we are activley advocating to see that those that are a realistic risk of contracting HIV have access to PrEP. In Alberta there are discussions happening however currently it can still be difficult to access. The best resource currently on PrEP in Alberta is www.prepalberta.ca created in partnership but spearheaded by the folks at Edmonton Men's Health Collective.