This interview was conducted with Freddie, Canada’s largest online PrEP provider. PrEP, what’s that? PrEP is a daily pill that reduces HIV transmission risk by up to 99% when taken as prescribed.
Say hello to Freddie & goodbye to awkward doctor’s visits
Affirming care is critical to members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. Secure and non-judgemental healthcare services are essential in ensuring that people from our community feel comfortable taking charge of their health. Navigating the healthcare system as a queer-identifying person often means interacting with cis-het care providers who may not be able to fully grasp the unique needs and experiences of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
When it comes to sexual health, no one wants to feel uncomfortable when exploring their options. Thankfully, brands like Freddie are stepping up for 2SLGBTQ+ Canadians and providing an end to potentially awkward disclosures with healthcare providers.
We got the opportunity to sit down and get to know Freddie, Canada’s largest online PrEP provider, in the interview below…
What Freddie is doing, and why you should care
Q: How did Freddie get started and who is it for?
Freddie’s main objective from the start has been decreasing barriers to access PrEP for the LGBTQ2S+ community. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma and misconceptions about sexual health in the medical field, and we wanted to do something about it. So, Freddie came up as a way to ensure queer and trans communities have an option for PrEP that is online, inclusive, and convenient.
Q: What is the explicit mission statement at the heart of Freddie?
Freddie’s mission statement is to facilitate healthcare access, specifically to HIV PrEP for LGBTQ2S+ communities. We want to achieve this mission by creating online services that provide affordable access to inclusive and confidential services, as well as trained providers to support your PrEP journey.
Q: What sets Freddie apart from traditional methods of obtaining PrEP in Canada?
At Freddie, we want to be unique and set an example of what inclusive sexual health services can look like. We take a research-based perspective and reduce barriers to accessing PrEP in the following unique ways:
Online services – with Freddie, you can speak to providers online and get all of your PrEP care communicated conveniently from the comfort of your home. All of your information is safely stored & respects all confidentiality standards.
Inclusive and trained providers – all of our providers have been trained on PrEP prescriptions and LGBTQ2S+ health. I wish this point wasn’t a ‘unique’ Freddie feature, as this should be more commonplace in all healthcare settings.
Support all the way – we take a patient-first approach, meaning that we will work with each person to support their entire journey on PrEP. We send reminders, check-in during the process, and are available to answer any of our patients’ concerns via phone calls, email, and SMS.
Q: How does Freddie work to provide affirming care for the LGBTQIA+ community? Why is this so important?
First, all of our clinicians are trained on PrEP and LGBTQ2S+ health considerations. That is a basic which should be the standard among all Canadian healthcare providers. We’re also committed to portraying a realistic and diverse audience in our marketing efforts as we want to highlight the beautiful multitude of bodies & expressions that exist.
Second, we understand the need to support LGBTQ2S+ community spaces. Freddie has created an extensive network of partners; from community-based organizations, STI clinics, drag shows, to queer bars, we see that as our responsibility. As a new service, Freddie wants to uplift queer spaces and artists as they are valuable sites of community and wellness.
What is PrEP? Here’s what you should know
Q: What actually is PrEP and what makes it so important to sexual health? (In simple terms for people just learning about it!)
PrEP is a pill that serves as an additional way to prevent HIV for those who are HIV negative and at higher risk of transmission. It’s usually taken once/day, and it’s 99% effective in preventing HIV when taken as prescribed.
Although PrEP is a huge new development in the game of HIV prevention, we definitely should not treat it as the magic answer to HIV. Instead, it’s part of a set of tools that, together, have the power to change the scenario: PrEP, PEP, HIV treatment, condoms, needle distribution programs, gender-affirming care, anti-poverty and housing initiatives. All of these strategies, in combination, can be incredibly transformative. If we’re going to eradicate the transmission of HIV, it’s going to take all of us doing our part.
Q: What do people usually get wrong about PrEP?
A lot of people think that PrEP is just for gay men; it’s not.
PrEP is for anyone who may be at higher risk of HIV and wants additional prevention. PrEP is not known to interact negatively with hormones, so it’s safe for many trans people. PrEP also does not interact with other prescription or recreational drugs, proving to be a safe option for people who use drugs.
Q: What is the easiest way to get started with Freddie and PrEP?
The easiest way to get started is to check out our website at gofreddie.com! There, you’ll find all information you need about PrEP and sexual health in general – all written to be inclusive and evidence-based. To see if you’re eligible for PrEP, take our quick 1-minute PrEP assessment & book your free consultation with our LGBTQ2S+ trained provider!
What’s next for Freddie as a company?
Q: Where is Freddie going/What are your ambitions and objectives as a company?
Freddie is quite the ambitious team! We essentially want to change the way sexual healthcare is provided in Canada. With our HIV PrEP services, Freddie wants to ensure our health system is doing everything in its power to prevent HIV and support LGBTQ2S+ communities. Our goal is that the standard healthcare practice will be based on inclusion, harm reduction, and evidence.
Q: Is there anything else you think that people should know about when it comes to PrEP / Freddie?
We want to take this opportunity to thank groups like Gaygenda that are building queer spaces in Canada; the work you do is incredible. Queer youth are the future, and we are constantly overwhelmed with pride in how they are continuing to push for more inclusivity, representation, and equality for intersecting communities.