Canada has endorsed the Joint United National Programme on HIV and AIDS global targets to end the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic, including reducing new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections to zero, by 2030. Given the effectiveness of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent new infections, it is important to measure and report on PrEP utilization to help inform planning for HIV prevention programs
Annual estimates of persons using PrEP in Canada were generated for 2014–2018 from IQVIA’s geographical prescription monitor dataset. An algorithm was used to distinguish users of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/ emtricitabine (TDF/FTC) for PrEP versus treatment or post-exposure prophylaxis. We provide the estimated number of people using PrEP in eight Canadian provinces by sex, age group, prescriber specialty and payment type.
The estimated number of PrEP users increased dramatically over the five-year study period, showing a 21-fold increase from 460 in 2014 to 9,657 in 2018. Estimated PrEP prevalence was 416 users per million persons across the eight provinces in 2018. Almost all PrEP users were male. Use increased in both sexes, but increase was greater for males (23-fold) than females (five-fold). Use increased across all provinces, although there were jurisdictional
differences in the prevalence of use, age distribution and prescriber types.
The PrEP use in Canada increased from 2014 to 2018, demonstrating increased awareness and uptake of its use for preventing HIV transmission. However, there was uneven uptake by age, sex and geography. Since new HIV infections continue to occur in Canada, it will be important to further refine the use of PrEP, as populations at higher risk of HIV infection need to be offered PrEP as part of comprehensive sexual healthcare.