Truvada for PrEP in Canada - Price, Cost and Side Effects

October 23, 2022
Jordan R.
Julius Care Team 🏳️‍🌈 🏳️‍⚧️

What is Truvada

Truvada is a combination medication containing two HIV antiretrovirals (ARVs), emtricitabine (Emtriva) and tenofovir DF (Viread). It's a first choice option for the treatment and prevention of HIV.

How Truvada works

Truvada contains 2 nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). They insert themselves into the virus' DNA and stop the DNA making process. When this happens, the HIV virus can't make copies of itself.

What is Truvada used for?

  • HIV treatment
  • HIV prevention (PrEP)

Typical dosing for Truvada

The typical dose is 1 tablet once a day. Each tablet contains 200 mg of emtricitabine and 300 mg of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF).

How to get Truvada Medication in Canada

To get Truvada for PrEP, you need to consult with a doctor or nurse practitioner, preferebly one with experience in sexual health and LGBTQ2S+ health. If appropriate for you, a doctor will be able to prescribe you Truvada.

Julius is the leading Online PrEP Clinic in Canada. Take our Free HIV PrEP online assessment to figure out if you're a good candidate for Truvada or Descovy.

How much does Truvada Cost in Canada

The cost of Truvada varies widely in Canada based on your insurance profile and your province of residence.

Cost by insurance profile:

  • Without insurane, Truvada costs about $300 per month, or about $3,600 per year in Canada.
  • With private insurance, Truvada costs about $60 per month.
  • With public insurance, Truvada costs vary widely by province.

Cost for those with public insurance by province:

  • Quebec: Partially covered ($95 per month out of pocket)
  • Ontario: Free if 24 years old or younger; not covered if 25 years old or older ($250 per month)
  • Alberta: Free
  • Saskatchewan: Free
  • BC: Free
  • Manitoba: Not covered ($250 per month)
  • Other: Varies

What are the side effects of Truvada

With any medication, there are risks and benefits. Even if the medication is working, you may experience some unwanted side effects.

The following side effects may get better over time as your body gets used to the medication. Let your doctor know immediately if you continue to experience these symptoms or if they worsen over time.

Common side effects:

  • Headache (7%)
  • Stomach pain (4%)
  • Weight loss (3%)

Other Frequently asked questions about Truvada

How effective is Truvada as PrEP?

The estimated protection from HIV when taking Truvada every day is 99%.

What is the difference between Truvada and Descovy?

Descovy and Truvada are both good medication options for the treatment and prevention of HIV. A change in the tenofovir chemical structure makes Descovy safer for the kidneys and bones. However, it is a newer medication and is only available as a brand product.

Can Truvada be used for PrEP on-demand?

PrEP on-demand has been studied in many countries as an alternative to taking Truvada everyday. It's not currently approved by the FDA for this, but the dosing schedule is usually 2 tablets of Truvada 24 hours before sex, then 1 tablet 24 hours after the first tablet, followed by 1 tablet 24 hours later. It's also known as PrEP 2-1-1. Talk to your healthcare provider if you think this dosing regimen might be appropriate for you.

Are Truvada and PrEP the same thing?

Truvada was the first medication approved for the prevention of HIV and introduced the idea of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

When should I take Truvada?

Truvada can be taken anytime during the day, with or without food. Try to pick a time where you can always remember to take your medication.

Who should not take Truvada?

People with severe kidney problems should not take Truvada. Those with mild kidney problems can take the medication every other day for the treatment of HIV. Anyone with kidney problems should not take Truvada for the prevention of HIV.

Is Truvada safer than condoms?

Truvada for HIV prevention is best when used in addition to condoms and other safer sex practices. Truvada works well to prevent HIV, but doesn't prevent other STDs.

Your Free Julius PrEP assessment
Get a free, personalized and completely confidential risk screening to learn about your HIV risk level, and to see if PrEP may be right for you.
star your free PrEP assessment - sti and hiv prevention clinic
Julius MD is not a pharmacy or drug manufacturer. Julius MD © 2023