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This Canadian doctor is fighting to make anti-HIV drugs cheaper and more accessible

Meka Beresford June 11, 2017

A doctor in Toronto is fighting to make the HIV prevention drug PrEP cheaper and more accessible.

Dr. Michael Fanous is working to increase awareness about PrEP among doctors who may not be as aware of preventative measures.

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) drug Truvada can drastically reduce people’s chances of being infected with HIV.

The doctor estimates that around 25 percent go gay men in Toronto have HIV with 85 percent of sexually active gay men being at risk of contracting the virus.

Fanous himself takes PrEP and he wants the community to be more aware of it.

The doctor said: “This is my community, these are my friends, partners and family members that are affected by HIV.

“I’m at risk myself as a gay man of being infected with HIV.”

Fanous explained that he believes a lot of gay men are not on PrEP because they cannot afford it.

“We can prevent HIV with this medication but the number one reason many men don’t take it is the cost,” he said.

Manager of community health programs at AIDS Committee of Toronto, Ryan Lisa, said that they hope the cost of the drug will decrease from $1,000 a month to $250 as a generic equivalent of PrEP is made available.

“The challenge that gay men are having is that it becomes accessible only for people who have money and great benefit plans… So this is a huge game-changer for gay men,” he said.

One man living with HIV, Ron Rosenes, told CBC that he think the community will benefit from the price reduction.

He said: “We need access to affordable PrEP.

“We need it to be available in this province and across the country to the people most at risk and we need it to be prescribed by a wide variety of healthcare providers.”

The World Health Organisation recently added PrEP to its list of essential medicines.

More: affordable health care, Americas, Canada, Canada, doctor, Health, HIV, HIV-prevention, medication, PrEP, Toronto

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