At YouthCO, we believe PrEP works, and stigma doesn't. So far, research about PrEP has been for those of us over 18. We support youth in getting health care that works for us, including and beyond PrEP! We continue to advocate for all youth to have consistent access to health care that is inclusive and stigma-free.
YouthCO knows PrEP will play a role in preventing new HIV diagnoses for some of us! And, we know that PrEP will only work when we have access to it, from making sure its available for free, to being able to see a health provider like a doctor we're comfortable with regularly. We also need a health provider who is knowledgeable about PrEP, and comfortable talking to us about our sexual health.
Now that PrEP is available at no cost, we will keep advocating to reduce the stigma that makes it hard to get PrEP. We want to make sure this new option is available to youth across the province: to those of us in communities without a doctor, to those of us in Indigenous communities, to those of us who are living with people we might not want to know we are taking PrEP.
PrEP cannot be the only strategy we use to reduce the impact of HIV on British Columbia’s youth. It is crucial that we address the very real ways stigma and social inequities limit access to HIV education, treatment, care, and prevention as part of how we approach PrEP.
Our full position statement on PrEP was written in the spring of 2015 and is available here.