In recognition of World AIDS Day, December 1, PSAC is proud to announce a partnership with MAX Ottawa, a community organization for queer men’s health. This marks the first step in a campaign aimed at advocating for better HIV treatment, including universal coverage of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a highly effective medicine for preventing HIV.
Forty years after the first AIDS cases were reported, significant progress has been made in testing, treatment, and prevention of HIV. Most people on HIV treatment achieve “undetectable” status, meaning the virus can’t be passed on to others. And with access to the right care, people living with HIV can live long and healthy lives. Yet too many people — specifically marginalized, racialized, and Indigenous communities — are still unable to get the care they need.
Access to PrEP is another example of this health care gap. Despite its proven effectiveness in preventing HIV, PrEP remains unaffordable for many Canadians — with one month’s supply costing anywhere from $250 to $1,000 without private drug coverage.
PSAC and MAX Ottawa will work together to highlight the inequality Canadians face accessing PrEP and drive home the case for including it in both public and employer-funded health care plans across the country. This research will also consider how increased education among health care workers could improve access to HIV testing and treatment, including PrEP.
Renewing calls for a universal, national pharmacare plan
In advocating for universal PrEP coverage, PSAC also continues to support the Canadian Labour Congress and our allies in securing a universal prescription drug plan that covers everyone in Canada, regardless of their income, age, or where they work or live.
Approximately one-third of working Canadians don’t have employer-funded prescription drug coverage, and those who earn less are also less likely to have access to a prescription drug plan.
A poll conducted by Heart & Stroke and the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions showed 93% of Canadians believe it’s important for everyone to have equal access to prescription drugs. Most people agree it's the federal government’s responsibility to ensure it happens.
A national pharmacare plan is necessary so people don’t have to choose between putting food on the table and buying medication. We can make life better for everyone by advancing universal pharmacare to help Canada’s most vulnerable and making sure all people — regardless of their identity — have access to the health care they need.