What is PrEP?
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a medication taken daily by individuals who are HIV-negative, in addition to safer sex practices, as a precaution with the intention of preventing HIV infection.
PrEP is a combination of two medicines - tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine (TDF/FTC). PrEP is typically taken daily to generate an adequate concentration of the drug in the body to stop the infection from multiplying. This works to prevent HIV by stopping the virus from making copies of itself and spreading through the cells.
What to Expect from Your Visit with a Physician for PrEP
- Questions regarding lifestyle and sexual health to determine eligibility with AHS guidelines (see below)
- Initial baseline blood work, HIV and STI testing (may include rectal and pharyngeal swabs)
- Follow up testing every 3 months
Non-Provincially Covered Costs
The cost of the generic form of PrEP is $516.00 for 30 tablets - almost half the cost of the name brand, Truvada.
Insurance Coverage for Students
If you have out-of-province health care (i.e. not Alberta Health Care), or do not have coverage under NIHB (Non-Insured Health Benefits for First Nations/Inuit), the cost for PrEP may need to be paid out of pocket or through an extended benefits insurance plan.
The SU and GSA health insurance for U of A students does not currently cover PrEP.
Insurance Coverage for Staff
- AASUA and APO staff: extended health insurance will fully cover the cost of PrEP.
- NASA staff: extended health insurance will cover most of the cost of PrEP (with a balance of $4.15 for the medication).
As of Oct. 1, 2018, the Government of Alberta has made generic versions of PrEP available at no cost to individuals who are at high risk of HIV acquisition.
To access universal coverage in Alberta, you must have an Alberta Health Care Card and meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Men who have sex with men (MSM), transwomen, gender-diverse individuals who report having anal sex in the past 6 months without using a condom, in addition to reporting any of the following:
- Chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis infection in the past 12 months
- Sex partner(s) known to be living with HIV who are not taking treatment, have HIV virus in their blood, or don’t know their virus levels
- Multiple sex partners
- Heterosexual persons in an ongoing relationship with a partner who is HIV positive who is not taking treatment, has HIV virus in their blood. or does not know their HIV virus levels
- Heterosexual persons who engage in sex with partner(s) who may be from a population or community with high rates of HIV
- Individuals who inject drugs and share injection supplies
(Information in Universal Coverage provided by AHS, 2018).
Designated PrEP Prescribers
- UHC: Dr. Laughlin, Dr. Wolfe, Dr. Walker