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HIV Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)

HIV Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) helps prevent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in people who are at high risk of acquiring the virus.

On October 1, 2018 Alberta made generic versions of the medication available at no cost to individuals at high risk of HIV acquisition. Previously, individuals had to pay out-of-pocket or obtain reimbursement through their personal or group prescription drug insurance plan.

Covering the cost makes HIV PrEP more accessible to those who need it. HIV PrEP is a highly effective strategy for reducing the risk of HIV acquisition in adults who are at high, ongoing risk of infection.

How to Get HIV PrEP

The medication will be prescribed by designated health professionals who have demonstrated specific knowledge in HIV prevention (Designated PrEP Prescribers).

Patients must be Alberta residents with a valid Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan card. If the designated prescriber determines the patient is medically eligible, they will be given a prescription for HIV PrEP.

Individuals that receive a prescription for the medication for HIV PrEP can have their prescription filled at any community pharmacy that stocks the medication. We recommend you talk to your pharmacy/pharmacist to ensure they have the medication available for you when you need it.

Who is Medically Eligible for HIV PrEP?

People who are HIV negative and at high, ongoing risk of HIV.

This includes:

  • Men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender women and gender diverse people reporting anal sex without a condom in the past 6 months and 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 HIV virus levels
    • Multiple sex partners
  • Heterosexual persons in an ongoing relationship with an HIV positive partner who is not taking treatment, has HIV virus in their blood or does not know their HIV virus levels

Other individuals who may also benefit from PrEP include:

  • People who inject drugs and share injection supplies
  • Heterosexual persons engaging in sex with partner(s) who may be from a population or community with high rates of HIV

PrEP isn’t needed for people who are in a stable, closed relationship with a partner living with HIV who is getting treatment and has very low levels of HIV virus.

Information for Health Professionals

Alberta Health Services is working with sexual health and HIV experts and community agencies to provide support and training to health professionals who may be interested in prescribing HIV PrEP to their patients and to identify designated prescribers in each zone.

If you are physician or other health professional with specific knowledge in HIV prevention and are interested in becoming a designated prescriber, email prep@ahs.ca  to register your interest.

Designated prescribers will have knowledge on how to assess an individual’s medical need and readiness for PrEP.

Designated prescribers will help ensure HIV PrEP is provided as one component within a more comprehensive HIV prevention strategy that includes testing and treatment, condom use and harm-reduction techniques.