PRESS RELEASE: Physicians and Gay Men Call on New Government to Make PrEP Available

PHYSICIANS AND GAY MEN CALL ON NEW 
GOVERNMENT TO MAKE PrEP AVAILABLE
 
August 14, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Vancouver, BC — A prominent group of physicians and gay men’s health organizations today released a public letter to British Columbia premier John Horgan and Health Minister Adrian Dix asking that the government take immediate steps to make Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) available to gay men and other men who have sex with men in British Columbia.
 
PrEP is an HIV prevention drug that has been proven to prevent HIV in both clinical trials and real-world settings, and was approved by Health Canada for this purpose. PrEP, which is taken in the form of a once-a-day pill called Truvada, is provided at no cost in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City, and is also publicly covered in Quebec. However, in British Columbia, Pharmacare still does not cover PrEP for HIV prevention.
 
“While British Columbia has usually led in the fight against HIV/AIDS, a lack of access to PrEP is impeding our progress.” said Jody Jollimore, Managing Director of the Community-Based Research Centre for Gay Men’s Health. “We’re calling on John Horgan to listen to the evidence, stand up for gay men’s health, and reduce the number of new HIV infections in this province. Adding PrEP to Pharmacare will save the public purse millions, and bring us closer to eliminating HIV.”
 
In 2017, while leader of the Official Opposition, Mr. Horgan responded to an interview question about PrEP by saying “Give people the medical devices that they need to protect themselves, and you’re going to reduce costs over time”. 
 
PrEP is currently available by prescription in Canada, but costs between $500 and $1,000 per month, and is only accepted by some extended health plans. More than 250 British Columbians contract HIV each year, costing the healthcare system millions in treatment costs. 
 
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For the media:
 
Paul Nixey
for the Community-Based Research Centre for Gay Men’s Health
778.918.7285 (mobile + sms)