PrEP, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, is a highly effective way to take the worry out of sex and prevent HIV. When taken regularly, the one-a-day PrEP pill protects people from HIV and provides peace of mind. PrEP is now available in Ontario in a generic form (which reduces the monthly cost) and is covered by Ontario’s public drug plans for people on ODSP, Ontario Works or the Trillium drug plan.
According to data from over 2000 Ontario pharmacies, PrEP prescribing increased dramatically between 2015 and 2018, but most prescriptions (about 60%) are still filled at pharmacies in the Toronto core. However, this picture is changing; three-year increases in prescribing were greatest in regions outside Ontario’s largest city.
More and more people are curious about PrEP so more physicians need better tools to support patients who want to use PrEP. To respond to this need, in the fall of 2018, OHTN began working with service providers to develop resources for both physicians and people interested in using PrEP. These resources, which are now available through OntarioPrEP.ca, include: an online tool to help people assess their risk and need for PrEP; a directory to help people find a clinic prescribing PrEP in their area; and training resources on PrEP prescribing and sexual health for physicians.
As part of a broader campaign to increase the number of PrEP prescribers in Ontario, the OHTN has also created a toolkit of resources that health care providers can use in their practice and is offering in-person training on PrEP delivery, led by Dr. Kevin Woodward. Our provider training launched in May 2019 at the Pri-Med Canada conference, the largest inter-professional continuing education conference in Canada focused on primary care. OHTN staff and Dr. Woodard connected with physicians at a dedicated conference booth, answering hundreds of questions and distributing 200 copies of the PrEP Action Kit.
Dr. Woodward’s lunchtime symposium on PrEP prescribing was booked to capacity and 35 Ontario physicians requested further follow-up training. To request in-person training or for more information about future training opportunities for health care providers contact OntarioPrEP.ca.
To assess the impact of its PrEP campaign, the OHTN will continue to monitor Ontario pharmacy data to track the number of people on PrEP and the number of prescribers and where they are in the province.