Gateway Gazette

Protecting Albertans at Risk of HIV

To help prevent HIV infections and protect lives, the Government of Alberta is covering the cost of a medication that can reduce the risk of contracting HIV.

HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) helps reduce the risk of HIV infection, but at an average cost of more than $250 a month, many Albertans cannot afford the drug.

In order to reduce the cost and infections, Alberta is making generic versions of the medication available at no cost to individuals at high risk of exposure.

“We are providing people with as many tools as possible to prevent the transmission of HIV and protect those most at risk. Covering the cost of this medication for the people who need it is an important tool in the province’s work to address HIV rates. By working with health providers and community partners on prevention, education and understanding, we’re working to get to zero new HIV cases together.”

~Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health

HIV PrEP is one tool to reduce the risk of HIV transmission and works best in conjunction with other strategies, including the use of safer sex practices, regular testing for sexually transmitted infections and ongoing follow-up with a health professional.

The medication will be covered for eligible Albertans when prescribed by designated prescribers. Designated prescribers are physicians or other health professionals who have specific knowledge in HIV prevention and are registered with the Alberta Health Services HIV PrEP Program. Approximately 60 designated HIV PrEP prescribers have been identified to participate in the program, with more prescribers being added on a weekly basis after completing training.

Quick facts

  • PrEP is a tablet taken daily.
  • Alberta has the fourth-highest HIV rate across Canadian provinces with 6.5 per cent per 100,000 population.
  • Coverage is provided to varying degrees in other provinces.

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