December 2nd, 2019

Delay on universal PrEP coverage leaves people at risk

Halifax-- The Liberal government should expand coverage of PrEP and provide universal access to the medication which, when taken daily, can prevent the transmission of HIV.

“We have given the Liberals tons of evidence and met with government MLAs, but there is still no action on universal coverage,” said Matt Numer, Associate Professor in the School of Health and Human Performance at Dalhousie University. “Universal access to PrEP would reduce infections and help save health care dollars required with every new case of HIV."

BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan all provide universal coverage for PrEP. The total yearly cost of universal PrEP coverage is about the same as the lifetime costs of a single HIV infection.

“We have heard loud and clear from health professions and communities at risk that the cost of PrEP can be a barrier to access, and that family pharmacare often doesn’t address that barrier,” said Susan Leblanc, NDP 2SLGBTQ+ spokesperson. “We should be working to prevent life-long illnesses whenever possible. Cost shouldn’t be the reason a person can’t protect themselves from HIV.”

Nova Scotia saw a spike in HIV cases last year with 29 new cases in 2018 up from 15 in 2017. The NDP Caucus introduced legislation in March to make sure the HIV prevention medication PrEP is universally available to anyone who needs it.

Sunday, December 1 was World AIDS Day.