PrEP in Belgium
Since 01/06/2017 PrEP is available and reimbursed to individuals who are at increased risk for HIV infection. In doing so, Belgium is one of the first European countries, next to France, Norway and Scotland.
How much does PrEP cost?
When PrEP is reimbursed, one box of 30 pills will cost you 11,90€. So pay attention, this is only when PrEP is reimbursed by your health insurance. To get PrEP reimbursed, you need to meet certain criteria, as described below. Next to the price of this box you will need to include the costs of all necessary tests (e.g. HIV or STI tests) and the costs of the consultation itself. The cost of such consultation is dependent on the physician.
There are a number of criteria that one should meet for the reimbursement:
• Be older than 18 years old
• Be HIV-negative (confirmed with a test)
• Be at increased risk for (sexually transmitted) HIV infection
When are you at increased risk for (sexually transmitted) HIV infection?
For men who have sex with men (MSM):
• You had anal sex without a condom with at least two partners in the last 6 months
• You had multiple sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the last year
• You had needed PEP multiple times in the last year
• You use psychoactive substances (drugs) during sexual activities
For other groups at risk:
• People who inject drugs and share needles
• People in prostitution exposed to sex without a condom
• People in general who are exposed to sex without a condom at increased risk for HIV infection
• Partners of HIV positive patients without viral suppression (new in treatment, or no having no viral suppression with an adequate treatment)
Where can you get PrEP?
In principle, can every physician prescribe PrEP to you, but it will only be reimbursed when it is prescribed by a physician-specialist associated with an aids reference centre. The Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp is such a centre and with this link you can make an appointment there. A list of other centres can be found here.
How does such a visit go?
First of all, the physician will check whether you meet the criteria as above and will execute/request several tests (e.g. an HIV test). When the physician deems a PrEP prescription feasible, a reimbursement request will be filed at the health insurance institution of the patient. This will be valid for a year. The physician can extend it thereafter, if necessary.
How frequent do I need to visit?
You will be asked to plan in a follow-up visit every three months, to perform several tests (e.g. HIV and STI tests).