In Canada, federal regulations forbid the direct import of prescription drugs, with the exception of physicians, pharmacists and druggists. However, when crossing the border personally into Canada, individuals may import up to 90 days’ worth of medications for their own personal use, subject to the discretion of the Canadian Border Services representatives. The Davie Buyers Club (named after Davie Street, the main thoroughfare of the gay village in Vancouver) has developed a comprehensive website providing information about how Vancouverites can access low-cost generic TDF/FTC as PrEP by ordering the medication online, having it shipped to a U.S. mailbox and crossing the border back into Canada with no more than a 90 day supply. Anecdotal reports from community members and clinicians alike indicate that this approach is widely used in Vancouver and nearby parts of British Columbia, where access to PrEP medications was extremely limited prior to 2018.
The Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance (GMSH) has developed its own information guide for men who have sex with men in Ontario wishing to adopt the same approach, entitled “The PrEP You Want: How to Order PrEP Online”. This study has been designed to determine the characteristics, perspectives and experiences of individuals who have considered the “The PrEP You Want: How to Order PrEP Online” approach for buying HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication. The study involves a baseline questionnaire and 3-month follow-up questionnaire that asks questions about participants’ health, perspectives and experiences with PrEP and the “The PrEP You Want: How to Order PrEP Online” approach.
Recruitment for the baseline study was conducted between June 2017 and March 2018, with all follow-up questionnaires scheduled to be completed by June 2018.