Updated November 1, 2017: Read the response letter from the Government
In early October, PAN submitted a letter to the Premier John Horgan, Minister of Health Adrian Dix, and MLA Spencer Chandra-Herbert. PAN wrote in support of the request for PrEP to be immediately funded by the government of BC, a move initially advocated for by the Community Based Research Centre (CBRC), YouthCO and others.
In its letter, PAN notes the pride those in BC can take in regards to advances in HIV treatment and prevention:
British Columbia has led the world in providing access to HIV treatment and there is so much to be proud of in terms of the work that has been done in this province by government, health authorities, and the BC-CfE and community partners – across the continuum – to combat HIV transmission.
Strong community work yields results:
PAN is a pro-active member-based coalition that provides a network to the abilities and efforts of its almost 50 member organizations to respond to HIV, hepatitis C and related issues in British Columbia. We have been working in partnership with all the signatories for more than a decade, and believe their expansive work in research, education and client services to be highly effective, impacting many lives. CRBC is a recognized leader regarding gay men’s health provincially and nationally and we applaud them for taking on this important advocacy initiative.
BC must continue with its dedication to best practices:
Deeply concerning is the reality that presently more than half of new infections occur in the gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) population. Diagnoses within young gbMSM aged 20-24 doubled from 2012 to 2014, and within ethnic minority gbMSM now representing over a third of all cases.
The use of emtricitabine/tenofovir (TDF-FTC) for PrEP has been proven to prevent HIV in both clinical trials and real-world settings, and was approved by Health Canada for this purpose. PrEP is provided at no cost in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City, and it is publicly covered in Quebec. However, in British Columbia, Pharmacare still does not cover TDF-FTC for HIV prevention. Without public access, the most vulnerable individuals will not have access to this effective prevention tool. Given this government’s commitment to harm reduction, we are asking you to direct BC Pharmacare to immediately offer full coverage for TDF-FTC for HIV prevention.