How To Get PrEP in Ontario
Learn how to get started with PrEP, anywhere in Ontario.
Your Guide to Getting PrEP in Ontario
The options for getting PrEP in Ontario have thankfully grown in recent years. Unfortunately, more choice does not always lead to greater access or more convenience, which is why we’re here to help you understand the entire process before getting started.
Step 1: Talk to a healthcare professional
Whether that’s your doctor or a nurse practitioner at a clinic, the first step to getting on PrEP is to determine whether it’s right for you.
If you live in Ontario and want to get started with The PrEP Clinic, you can book a free, virtual appointment at any time via our online booking portal. During the call you’ll speak with a member of our clinical team to assess your need and answer any questions you may have.
If you’re in the Toronto, Brampton, or Ottawa areas and would prefer to speak with someone in person, you can book an appointment at one of our 3 in-person clinics. We also have walk-in hours!
Step 2: Complete labwork
Once you are ready to start PrEP, you’ll need to have labwork completed to determine your HIV status.
Our in-house team of PrEP Pharmacists will chat with you directly and order this labwork on your behalf. If you’re visiting us in-person, this work will be done on-site during the same visit as your initial assessment and you’ll also be offered free sexual health vaccines if you like.
Step 3: Start your prescription
Once your lab results come in, our prescribers will chat with you about the medication, answer any questions, and even help you save on your prescription. Your medication can be shipped to your door with FREE, discrete shipping or you can come pick it up at one of our in-person locations.
Step 4: Re-test and refill
Just before it is time to refill, our team will order lab work again and you’ll have another check-in with us before receiving your refill.
While on PrEP, it’s important to continue testing not just for HIV, but for other common STIs too. The Canadian guidelines for PrEP recommend swab testing all areas at risk of infection, yet many PrEP services don’t provide swabbing or only make it available if a patient requests it.
At The PrEP Clinic, we automatically provide swabs to our patients every 3 months with their routine PrEP labs anywhere in Ontario. We also offer them on-site at our in-person locations as well.
Not sure if PrEP is right for you?
We’ve created a resource page for you called All About PrEP.
Our team is also here for you to answer any questions before your appointment.
Why Choose The PrEP Clinic?
At The PrEP Clinic, our patients’ health and wellbeing is our number one priority. Not only are we Ontario’s original online PrEP care provider, but we’ve also expanded to offer full-service walk-in clinics where we can do all of your labwork and STI treatment on-site.
When you choose to become a PrEP Clinic patient, you’ll be treated with dignity and respect, and gain access to a range of additional care. All PrEP patients are offered free ongoing STI testing and vaccines (including HPV), mental wellness counselling, and are eligible for our free condom and naloxone shipping program.
More Answers for Everything PrEP
Health is very personal and we feel it’s important to provide information to help you make a well-informed decision about PrEP. If you will ever have a possible exposure to HIV it is something to consider – especially if not always 100% sure of a sexual partner’s status.
A person can have just one partner and acquire HIV, while someone else can have several partners and never acquire it. HIV impacts people of all ages and backgrounds – there isn’t one “type” of person who can benefit. This includes all gender identities and sexual orientations.
Many patients with our clinic have found peace of mind taking PrEP and that it reduces anxiety around their sexual health.
PrEP is a combination of two drugs that fight against HIV known as “antiretrovirals”. They work by preventing HIV from being able to take hold in the body. The medications in PrEP are actually sometimes used as part of HIV treatment regimens as well (but can’t be used alone in treatment, only for prevention).
According to the manufacturer one tablet should be taken every day. Studies have found medication effectiveness depends on how regularly it is taken. Missing doses will make it less effective.
Individuals on daily PrEP will have maximum protection from vaginal sex at 21 days and anal sex at 7 days. The medication needs to be continued once daily as consistency determines the level of effectiveness.
If you have unprotected sex and don’t always know your partner’s status, PrEP may be right for you. 1 in 7 people living with HIV (PLWH) do not know they have the virus.
Take control and consider PrEP if any of the following apply to you:
- You don’t always use condoms (external or internal) when you have anal or vaginal intercourse and aren’t certain of your partner’s HIV status
- You’ve been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection in the last six months
- You’re in a relationship with a partner living with HIV, but they are not undetectable
- You are a person who injects drugs, or you’re in a sexual relationship with a person who injects drugs
PrEP is generally well tolerated and side effects can include stomach upset, headache, or feeling tired. These symptoms usually improve or go away with use. The medications in PrEP have now been studied and taken for 20 years.
Rare potential side effects include impact on your kidney function but your prescriber will monitor this during regular bloodwork. Any changes are generally reversible upon stopping the medication. The other possible side effect is changes in bone mineral density (bone strength). This is generally minor and reversible upon discontinuation.
PrEP is currently covered for some by the public Ontario Drug Benefit Program (ODB) and many private plans.
The following people automatically have PrEP fully covered through public programs:
- For anyone under 25 with an Ontario health card and no private insurance (OHIP+)
- Seniors over 65 with an Ontario health card
- If you are on ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program) or OW (Ontario Works)
- Veterans, or Armed Forces
- If you are First Nations or Inuit and have coverage through NHIB
In addition, most workplace and school insurance plans provide some coverage for PrEP costs. Some plans require a special authorization form which we can assist with.
If you are without coverage or need additional support, the Ontario government has a free program called Trillium that anyone with an Ontario health card can apply to.
At The PrEP Clinic, over 90% of our patients pay $0 for their PrEP medication with our exclusive PrEPSaver Program. You can also use our Instant Cost Calculator to find out how much you’ll pay for PrEP with us in just a few clicks.