March 7th, 2019

NDP legislation would create universal PrEP coverage

HALIFAX-- The NDP Caucus has introduced legislation to make sure the HIV prevention medication PrEP is universally available to anyone who needs it. The medication has been shown to prevent a person from contracting HIV 99 per cent of the time.

“When we think about health care we should make sure to consider how to prevent life-long illnesses rather than only reacting once people get sick,” said NDP Health spokesperson Tammy Martin. “This medication can make a huge difference in a person’s life. Cost shouldn’t be the reason a person can’t protect themselves from HIV.”

Nova Scotia recently saw a spike in HIV cases. There were 29 new cases of HIV in Nova Scotia in 2018. That’s up from 15 in 2017.

“It’s very concerning that we’ve seen an increase in the cases of HIV. This is not a situation that should be ignored,” said Matt Numer, Assistant Professor in the School of Health and Human Performance, Dalhousie University. “Universal access to prep would reduce infections and reverse the increasing trend."

Providing universal access to PrEP would cost about $1.5 million per year. A single case of HIV costs the public health care system about $1.5 million over the course of the patient's lifetime. This harm reduction approach will help people and is also a major cost saver for the health care system.