LONDON – NDP LGBTQ Issues critic Terence Kernaghan issued the following statement in response to Alberta's decision to provide universal coverage for HIV prevention drug pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP):
“We know that one in four Ontarians is not taking the medicine they're prescribed because of the cost. That includes PrEP, a medication that can save lives by preventing HIV infection and lowering infection rates throughout Ontario.
Far too many Ontarians are still unable to access LGBTQ affirmative health care. For many, that includes access to PrEP – and cost is a barrier. While the human costs of being unable to afford preventative medicine are devastating, according to the Canadian Aids Treatment Information Exchange, the lifetime health care costs for each of the 30,000 Ontarians living with HIV is an estimated $250,000.
That's why we commend Alberta’s commitment to provide universal access to PrEP. Andrea Horwath and the NDP believe in Universal Pharmacare for Ontarians. Our 2018 election platform included full coverage for PrEP, and we won’t give up on it. We’ll continue to work with Ontario's LGBTQ communities to follow Alberta’s lead, and push for Ontario to finally join the seven provinces that fully cover this life-saving HIV-prevention treatment.
No one should have to go without the medication they need because of cost, and no one should be less safe or less healthy because of the price of protection.”