“Freddie” improves access to preventative HIV care
July 29, 2020
CALGARY – On July 20, 2020 two Calgary physicians launched “Freddie”, a telemedicine service that connects Albertans with access to physicians’ online who specialize in HIV care and are certified to prescribe the preventative medication HIV PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis).
The medication is a pill taken once a day that reduces the risk of acquiring HIV by up to 99 percent and is free for Albertans who qualify. Over 8,000 individuals are currently living with HIV in Alberta, with 1 in 7 unaware of their HIV status.
Launched by Dr. Husein Moloo (pictured on left) and Dr. Caley Shukalek (pictured on right), Freddie is the first virtual platform of its kind in Canada. With HIV rates rising across the country in recent years, Moloo and Shukalek want to provide an easily accessible, judgement-free and discreet method for HIV at-risk Albertans to access information about the virus and preventative treatments.
“Many communities who are most at-risk of contracting HIV either do not have easy access to a physician who is trained in HIV prevention or are battling the stigma of inquiring with their doctor about it,” said Dr. Shukalek. “We know in both rural communities and even urban centres the topic can still feel taboo, and unfortunately many physicians are unaware of the treatments available to prevent HIV.
“With Freddie, a patient can discreetly book an appointment and consult a doctor online and if HIV PrEP is the right treatment for them, it can be delivered in a discreet manner straight to their home.”
In December 2019, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) released its “HIV in Canada – Surveillance Report, 2018” that revealed the number of new HIV cases in Canada jumped 25.3% over the previous four years; from 2,040 in 2014 to 2,561 in 2018.
Communities most at-risk of contracting HIV include injection drug users, MSM individuals (men who have sex with men), sex workers and those of African and Carribean descent. Freddie has launched in Alberta first with future plans to provide the service across the country to all Canadians to help prevent the spread of HIV.
Freddie virtually delivers PrEP, the treatment that reduces one’s risk of acquiring HIV by 99 percent. The platform’s vision is to use telemedicine and compassionate care to improve health outcomes for all members of the LGBTQ2S+ community. Founded in 2020 and based in Calgary, Alberta, Freddie enables patients to see expert physicians for free and get their medication delivered to their door. The platform provides access to those who need it most and aims to reduce the burden on Canada’s existing universal healthcare system. For more details, visit www.gofreddie.com.
About Dr. Caley Shukalek
Dr. Caley Shukalek is passionate about evidence-based, patient-centred care, including telemedicine that can provide high quality care from wherever a patient may choose. Dr Shukalek holds an MD from the University of Calgary and works in Calgary, Alberta as a specialist in General Internal Medicine with additional training in sexual health including HIV and sexually transmitted infections. He has also completed his Masters of Science at the University of Alberta and is near completion of his Masters of Public Health From Johns Hopkins University.
About Dr. Husein Moloo
Husein firmly believes that virtual care will play a vital role in providing better access to healthcare in the future. Improving health outcomes for Canadians, and people everywhere, is his primary goal. Husein holds an MD from the University of Calgary, a Masters in Public Health from Brown University, and a Diploma in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene from the University of London School of Tropical Medicine. He practices as a Hospitalist Physician in Calgary, Alberta.