Submitted by: Harlan Pruden, Educator, Chee Mamuk Aboriginal Program, Clinical Prevention Services, BCCDC
What’s PrEP, who’s covered and how to access PrEP?
PrEP/Truvada is a covered benefit and is available at no cost for BC’s First Nations and Inuit People. BC’s First Nations and Inuit People are the first to have access to publicly-funded PrEP in BC!
The following Indigenous people do not have access to PrEP/Truvada at this time:
- Metis people
- Individuals with Aboriginal identities (without status)
PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. It is a pill taken daily, by someone who does not currently have HIV infection, to prevent them from acquiring HIV if they are exposed; for example, if a condom breaks while having sex, or has sex without a condom, or shares a needle with someone who has HIV. In other words, if someone on PrEP is exposed to HIV their chance of getting HIV is significantly reduced.
First Nations people, who are residents of BC and have status, are eligible and have access to PrEP/Truvada through their First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) coverage. For more information contact the FNHA Benefits Department Toll Free: 1.855.550.5454 or by email: [email protected].
BC’s Inuit community members are eligible under Health Canada’s Non-Insured Healthcare Benefits (NIHB) and can access PrEP/Truvada under NIHB. For more information about coverage, contact Health Canada directly at 1-800-232-7301.
Testing for sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and other blood tests are needed before receiving a prescription for PrEP/Truvada.
Filling a prescription for Truvada is the same as filling any other prescription. Additionally, the pharmacy will fill the prescription at no cost to the community member once you present your status card.
When first starting Truvada, your clinician will likely ask you to come back in 30 days for more blood tests. After this, your doctor will usually want to see you every three months for routine testing.
Because PrEP is relatively new to British Columbia finding a primary service provider that knows about PrEP may prove to be challenging.
If you are in the Vancouver area, PrEP is available at the following selected health clinics:
- Bute Street Clinic, 1170 Bute Street, Vancouver. Learn more
- Health Initiative for Men, #421–1033 Davie Street, Vancouver Learn more
For more information:
- BCCDC’s Smart Sex Resource – Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Blog Post
- BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Guidance for the use of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for the prevention of HIV acquisition in British Columbia(October 2017).
Tan D, Hull M, Yoong D, Tremblay C, O’Byrne P, Thomas R, Kille J, Baril J, Cox J, Giguere P, Harris M, Hughes C, MacPherson P, O’Donnell S, Reimer J, Singh A, Barrett L, Bogoch I, Jollimore J, Lambert G, Lebouche B, Metz G, Rogers T and S Shafran. Canadian guideline on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis and non-occupational post-exposure prophylaxis. CMAJ November 27, 2017 189 (47) E1448-E1458.
Beadwork for Image and Photo Credit: La Fontaine, Lynette, Nurse Educator, Chee Mamuk Aboriginal Program, Clinical Prevention Services, BCCDC