Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is a medication taken by people who are at high risk of contracting HIV. It involves taking a pill once a day to reduce the chances of contracting the virus through sexual or injection drug use.
PrEP is highly effective in preventing HIV transmission when taken as prescribed, but it does not provide protection against other sexually transmitted infections. It is important for individuals to continue using condoms and other safe sex practices even while taking PrEP.
PrEP is only available with a prescription from a healthcare provider and regular monitoring is necessary to ensure its continued effectiveness. It is not a cure for HIV and should not be used as a replacement for safer sex practices.
The short answer is it depends, so let's break it down. How much you'll need to pay for PrEP depends on 3 factors:
1) The Type of PrEP Medication.
There are two types of PrEP medications that are approved in Canada. While both medications are quite similar, pricing between them varies dramatically.
Truvada is the brand name of the first Health Canada approved PrEP medication - it is a combination of emtricitabine (FTC) and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF). Descovy is the brand name of a slightly different combination of two drugs, combining emtricitabine with a different form of tenofovir, called tenofovir alafenamide (TAF).
The benefit of Descovy is that it has shown to have less side effects than Truvada. On the flip side, Truvada has been used for PrEP for longer and has more data to support its use compared to Descovy.
Since there are generic drug equivalents to Truvada, it can be much cheaper to take Generic Truvada compared to Descovy, which doesn't have any generic equivalents as it is a newer medication. Given the difference in price is so large, many providers prefer to prescribe Generic Truvada over Descovy.
2) What Type of Insurance You Have.
Your out of pocket pricing for medication depends on your insurance coverage.
Here's how much you can expect to pay for Generic Truvada depending on your
3) What Province You're In.
If you have public insurance, your cost for Generic Truvada will depend on which
province you live in. Here's the breakdown per province:
Since PrEP is a prescription medication, you'll need a prescription from a licensed medical provider. Find out more by reading our article on how to get PrEP in Canada. If you have any questions, you can complete our free PrEP assessment to speak to a medical provider. You can also speak with our care team by emailing email@example.com.