Government is increasing access to HIV prevention medication by adding it as a benefit under provincial Pharmacare programs effective Monday, July 23.
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, commonly known as PrEP, involves daily dosing of antiretroviral medication taken by people at high-risk for HIV infection.
“This is a key step in the prevention of new HIV infections in Nova Scotia,” said Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey. “By adding PrEP to the list of medicines that may be prescribed and covered by provincial Pharmacare, we’re making this treatment available to, and more affordable for, Nova Scotians at high risk of HIV.”
PrEP is used as part of an HIV prevention therapy that includes safer sex practices and risk reduction counselling.
“There is now clear evidence on the effectiveness of PrEP in preventing HIV,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health. “Any steps that increase access to PrEP are important contributions to reducing the impact HIV has on individuals, communities and our health-care system.”
Eligibility criteria is based on national guidelines and the national Canadian Drug Expert Committee recommendation. People who are concerned about their risk of HIV infection should speak to a primary care provider so they can be assessed to determine whether they are eligible for PrEP. Prescriptions for PrEP can be filled at community pharmacies across the province.
In the coming months, Dr. Strang will lead a working group with stakeholders, including the PrEP Action Committee, to work toward achieving the final goal of increased access to this prevention medication.
For more information about Pharmacare, visit https://novascotia.ca/dhw/pharmacare/ .