If you want to get PrEP, you have to ask a doctor or nurse.
They’ll talk to you about why you might need PrEP. If you both agree that PrEP is right for you, they’ll go ahead and give you an HIV test to make sure you’re negative, give you tests for STIs, and test to make sure that your kidneys are healthy. If everything looks good, they’ll write you a prescription. While you’re on it, you may need to get these tests every 3 months.
Not every doctor will respond the same way to a conversation about PrEP, so it’s best to be prepared for what that conversation might look like.
In February 2016, Health Canada approved Truvada for use in combination with safer sex practices to reduce the possibility of sexually acquired HIV. While you can get PrEP in Canada, it isn’t cheap. We’re talking about approximately $800-1000 a month, though there is some possibility that that price will go down in the next few years.
Some insurance providers do cover Truvada as PrEP. You can talk to your doctor about how to approach asking for coverage. If you you’re not sure about how to talk to them about coverage, you might talk with somebody from an HIV/AIDS service organization, people who do HIV testing, or organizations that work around sexual health.
If you’re thinking of asking your doctor about PrEP, but you’re afraid you won’t know how to ask about it, check out the script below. You can even download it and take it with you.
In countries like Australia and the UK you can order generic PrEP online and have it shipped directly to your home. In Canada, it is illegal for a permanent resident to receive medication by mail or courier from outside the country. However, a Canadian resident can enter the US, pick up, and return with up to 90 days of prescribed medication for personal use. Right now the cost of generic PrEP is about $60 (Canadian) a month. If you are interested in learning more about how you can order generic PrEP online check out our guide: The PrEP You Want.
The full cost of Truvada as PrEP is covered by the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program. NIHB is a federal program that covers costs for certain medications and other health resources for some First Nations and Inuit people. Eligibility to receive NIHB has some restrictions based on a person’s legal recognition as part of First Nations or Inuit communities and their residency status. If you are a First Nations or Inuit person and are not sure if you are eligible for NIHB, you can contact the Ontario office of NIHB at 1-800-640-0642 or NIHB National Headquarters at 1-866-225-0709.
We’re at an exciting time in HIV treatment and prevention. The science of anti-retrovirals like PrEP, HIV treatment and PEP has changed rapidly, and already the medications people use for these treatments have gotten easier to take and have fewer side effects. It’s very possible that new developments will make PrEP and HIV treatment even better, such as taking injectable treatments, the release of a cheaper, generic version of Truvada, or other changes in the use and availability of these drugs.