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Questions and Answers

What’s Truvada or PrEP? How Does It Prevent HIV?

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PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. PrEP is a pill you take every day to lower your risk for getting HIV. The name of the pill is Truvada.

You can think of Truvada as the birth control for HIV. You take a pill once a day, and you’re less likely to get HIV.

It’s most prescribed for people who have a higher risk – like gay, bi, and queer men who have multiple partners, people who inject drugs, sex workers, and people who are in a relationship with someone who has HIV.

How do I get PrEP?

PrEP is prescribed at a most clinics in Montreal, but might be easier to get at l’Actuel and Quartier Latin (see below for more about them).

If you go to get Truvada. they will talk to you about your situation and how to take it. If you’re at risk for HIV, you’ll probably get a prescription.

How much does Truvada cost?

If you have RAMQ, it will cost you the monthly maximum of about $87. Other insurance tends to cover less, so without RAMQ, you’ll probably pay more, depending on your coverage.

How do I take PrEP?

You just need to take one pill a day, around the same time. It’s important to take the pill every day, though, or it will be less effective.

Can I take Truvada with other drugs?

There are a few prescription medications that can’t be taken with Truvada. So, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before taking new meds or changing the dosage of other ones.

Truvada can also be hard on the liver, so there are a few over-the-counter meds to look out for. Specifically, most painkillers, including Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil (ibuprofen), and aspirin. If you take these regularly, it may degrade your liver.

If you’re taking anything else over the counter, it’s a good idea to talk to the doctor about them before you go on PrEP.

What’s my risk for HIV if I’m on PrEP?

When you take Truvada correctly, the risk of getting HIV is almost 0. But, it doesn’t protect against other sexually transmitted infections. Some of these can also raise your risk for getting HIV.

More info:

  • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) – CATIE

    This in-depth article looks at PrEP, a drug people can take to reduce their chances of getting HIV. It discusses different methods, their effectiveness, side effects, and risks, including just about everything you’d want to know!

  • HIV Now – ACT

    This resource debunks some myths about HIV that are no longer true in 2015, including that HIV can be detected by testing sooner than expected, that there’s a pill that helps prevent HIV and that people who are on treatment are not likely to transfer the virus to a partner. It also talks about the current legal issues around HIV in Canada.

  • Dating someone who’s HIV-positive – Ask Alice

    This article talks about the emotions and potential risks involved when people who are HIV negative date or have sex with someone whose positive, and talks about ways of reducing the risk of transferring the virus.

  • l’Actuel

    This clinic is located near Beaudry metro and also offers anonymous rapid HIV testing and testing for other STBBIs. With rapid HIV testing, you can get an answer while you wait, instead of potentially needing to come back.

    They have walk-in hours on weekends from 8am-12pm, or you can make an appointment for time outside those hours or during the week.

    L’Actuel is also a major source for PEP and PrEP, two drugs that can prevent you from getting HIV.

  • Clinique Médicale Quartier Latin

    Clinique Médicale Quartier Latin. An LGBTQ+-friendly testing site in the Gay Village/Quarter Latin, dedicated to diversity and compassion.