Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a course of HIV drugs taken by HIV-negative people to protect them against HIV infection. PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) medication has been available in Finland for a period one year now. The Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare published national guidelines for PrEP last April and the affordable PrEP medication arrived at the pharmacies on the following month. The first PrEP treatments at the public health care took place in June the same year.

In the picture you can see PrEP activist/Mr. Fetish Finland 2019 Tom together with Hivpoint’s Sexual Counsellor/PrEP expert Sami proposing a toast to celebrate the end of long wait for getting affordable PrEP and national guidelines to Finland.

The amount of PrEP users in Finland

Based on the data that Hivpoint has been able to collect, there are around 300 PrEP users in Finland for time being. Most of them (around 200) live in the Capital area and are receiving their treatment from the Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) or from private health care providers. Unfortunately, the queue to the PrEP treatment at HUS has been quite long. There are more than 50 persons on the waiting list and the waiting time is up to four months (at time being (16th of April) due to the coronavirus situation the PrEP treatment is on hold at the Helsinki University Hospital, – read more). There are no queues to the PrEP treatment in other parts of Finland.

Hivpoint has taken an active role to support PrEP treatment in Finland

Offering PrEP to people who would benefit from it is part of Finland’s national HIV strategy and Hivpoint has taken an active role on promoting accessibility of PrEP. Also, Hivpoint has done concrete work in order to help and support people in need of PrEP and the workers have written out around hundred referrals to PrEP treatment in Capital and Tampere areas. A vast majority of referrals have been written to gay and bisexual men as well as few sex workers and people who travel to Thailand. Writing a referral to PrEP treatment consist always of face-to-face appointment with a sexual counsellor and during the meeting it is possible to talk about sexual behavior and sexuality.

Checkpoint Express is Hivpoint’s STI Clinic offers STI testing ones a month for men who have sex with men. People who get their PrEP treatment from private health care provides have had the possibility to get the acquired lab tests free of charge from the clinic. Hivpoint’s next goal is free PrEP for risk groups from the public health care and PrEP to be part of the national health insurance so that it would more affordable for all people that would benefit from it.

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