In February 2016, Health Canada approved the use of daily Truvada as PrEP for reducing the risk of sexual transmission of HIV. Truvada for PrEP provides an estimated 92%-99% reduction in HIV risk for HIV-negative individuals who take the pills every day as directed. According to the most recent BC Centre for Disease Control HIV surveillance report, ‘Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) continued to comprise the greatest number of new HIV diagnoses in BC (58% of all new HIV diagnoses in 2014). Trends were elevated but stable, with the greatest increase in new HIV diagnoses among MSM born after 1980. Over time, the proportion of new HIV diagnoses in GBOMSM from ethnicities other than Caucasian has increased (37% in 2014).' The epidemiological trends are clear: Gay, Bi, and Other Men Who Have Sex With Men (GBOMSM) still face significantly increased HIV transmission rates as compared to other groups, and younger and non-white GBOMSM face a higher disease burden still.
The time for debate is over, but the question remains: PrEP works, so why isn’t it more available for men at risk of HIV?
Twelve years ago, Canada’s First Ministers signed a Health Accord reaffirming their continued commitment to the principles and criteria of the Canada Health Act that ensures all medically necessary care be publicly administered, comprehensive, accessible, portable, universal and delivered without user fees or extra billing. At a cost of up to $1,000.00 a month, PrEP remains out of reach for most GBOMSM, excepting those with generous private insurance plans. We are calling on the British Columbia Ministry of Health to recognize this commitment, and provide a clear pathway for provincial support of the use of Truvada in HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis.
We are asking our provincial government to list Truvada as PrEP on the general formulary of British Columbia’s provincial drug plan (aka Pharmacare). Listing Truvada as PrEP on the general formulary means the cost of Truvada as PrEP would be covered in part or whole by the province.
You can help by sending a letter and sharing this call to action with others!
Join us in asking the Honourable Premier John Horgan and BC Minister of Health Adrian Dix to uphold the Canadian values of health care based on need and not the ability to pay, and to ensure fair provincial funding to support the expansion of PrEP for HIV prevention across our province. British Columbians at risk of HIV infection need our Ministry of Health to step up and lead our province in the creation and implementation of a plan for PrEP access that reduces barriers to access based on ability to pay.