Ad­vo­cates, NDP urge N.S. gov’t to cover PREP drug

StarMetro Halifax - - SPORTS - YVETTE D’EN­TREMONT thes­tar.com/hal­i­fax

man hopes the Lib­eral govern­ment se­ri­ously con­sid­ers a call by the NDP to pro­vide uni­ver­sal cov­er­age of PREP, a med­i­ca­tion that can pre­vent the trans­mis­sion of HIV.

On Wed­nes­day, the NDP cau­cus called on the prov­ince to “do bet­ter” when it comes to HIV pre­ven­tion. Their ap­peal comes the day be­fore a sched­uled flag-rais­ing cer­e­mony at Prov­ince House to mark HIV/AIDS aware­ness week in Nova Sco­tia and World AIDS Day.

“PREP is a com­bi­na­tion of med­i­ca­tions used to pre­vent the trans­mis­sion of HIV. When taken daily, it is highly ef­fec­tive at pre­vent­ing new WWW.THES­TAR.COM

cases of this virus,” Tammy Martin, NDP spokesper­son for health and well­ness, told re­porters at Prov­ince House.

The Lib­eral govern­ment added PREP to the pro­vin­cial phar­ma­care for­mu­lary on July 23.

The med­i­ca­tion is sold un­der the brand name Tru­vada, among oth­ers, and is a com­bi­na­tion of two an­tiretro­vi­ral med­i­ca­tions: emtric­itabine and teno­fovir diso­proxil fu­marate.

Martin said that since the prov­ince added PREP to its phar­ma­care for­mu­lary, only nine peo­ple have qual­i­fied for ac­cess.

Ad­vo­cates say this isn’t good enough, es­pe­cially for a prov­ince that has seen “an alarm­ingly high” num­ber of new cases of HIV/AIDS over this past year.

If as many as 500 Nova Sco­tians ap­plied for ac­cess, the $1.5 mil­lion an­nual in­vest­ment would equal the life­time cost for just one per­son in­fected with HIV.

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