Learn about daily medication that prevents HIV
What is PrEP?
HIV PrEP is short for HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis and is a medication that helps prevent HIV. When taken regularly, PrEP reduces the chances of getting HIV by over 99 per cent.
How does it work?
PrEP is an antiretroviral (ART) medication. If a person is exposed to HIV, PrEP blocks the HIV from spreading in their body.
How can I get PrEP?
Any doctor licensed to practice in B.C. can prescribe PrEP. Nurse practitioners with specific training can also prescribe PrEP.
In B.C., PrEP is available at no cost for people with MSP coverage or Interim Federal Health coverage (e.g. refugee status) and for First Nations, Metis and Inuit people. If you don’t have MSP or Interim Federal Health coverage, you can still get PrEP, although it will not be free.
Who can use PrEP?
PrEP is for anyone who has a higher chance of getting HIV. You must be HIV negative to be on PrEP.
PrEP is recommended for those who:
Are having condomless anal sex and identify as either a cis or transgendered man who has sex with men (MSM) or as a transgender woman, along with any of the following:
- A diagnosis of infectious syphilis or a bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the rectum (like chlamydia or gonorrhea), especially if diagnosed in the past year.
- Have used post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) more than once.
- Have an ongoing sexual relationship with a partner(s) who is living with HIV and not on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and/or has a detectable viral load (viral load of >200 copies/ml).
- Have an HIV Incidence Risk Index for men who have sex with men (HIRI-MSM) score of 10 or higher (click here to find out your HIRI score).
- Inject drugs and share injection equipment with someone who is living with HIV and not receiving stable antiretroviral therapy (ART) and/or has a detectable viral load (viral load of >200 copies/ml).
- Have an ongoing sexual relationship with a partner who is living with HIV and is not receiving stable antiretroviral therapy (ART) and/or has a detectable viral load (viral load of >200 copies/ml).
- Have unprotected vaginal/anal sex with partners who are:
- Men who have sex with men (MSM) or persons who inject drugs and of unknown HIV status
- Transgender men
- Gender diverse
- Engaging in sex work
Talk to your health care provider if you feel PrEP might be right for you.
If PrEP isn’t for you right now, it is best to continue regularly testing for STIs and HIV as needed.
Circumstances are always changing, so review your PrEP eligibility and HIRI score (if relevant) on an ongoing basis with your health care provider.
For detailed information on PrEP, who it’s for and how to get it, visit:
- SmartSex Resource: https://smartsexresource.com/sexually-transmitted-infections/sti-basics/prep/
- Health Initiative for Men: https://checkhimout.ca/what-is-prep/
Fraser Health Sexual Health Clinics
Visit a Fraser Health Sexual Health Clinic or Youth Clinic for PrEP information and an eligibility assessment.
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