British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix has responded to concerns in the LGBT community.

Health Minister Adrian Dix

Dix announced that people at high risk of contracting the retrovirus could receive a daily oral medication for free reports

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, a.k.a. PrEP, has been recommended by the World Health Organization and the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS as a means to reduce transmission of HIV.

“Our government is committed to helping fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and supporting people as they take action to protect themselves from this virus,” Dix said in a news release.

“Making this medication free for people will prevent new HIV infections, remove barriers to care and services, and help people live longer and healthier lives.”

The government’s move was applauded by Dr Julio Montaner, director of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

“British Columbia has led the country and the world on efforts to control HIV and AIDS over the last three decades with the development and implementation of the made-in-British Columbia Treatment as Prevention strategy,”the world-renowned physician stated.

“The addition of PrEP and expansion of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to our Treatment as Prevention strategy has the potential to further accelerate the decline of new HIV infections in the province.”

Today’s government news release stated:

“In August 2016, the Common Drug Review recommended PrEP for coverage, contingent in part on a lower price for the drug Truvada being secured. This condition has been met through the availability of generic Truvada.”

While Ontario and Quebec already subsidise PrEP through their provincial drug programs, BC will be the first Canadian province to offer it entirely for free.

BC’s new PrEP program will cover a generic version of the drug called tenofovir-emtricitabine (which is also sold as the brand-name drug Truvada). The drug is to be used as PrEP for men and trans women who have sex with men, as well as people with HIV-positive sexual partners, injection drug users and other groups at higher risk of being infected with HIV.