NHS England won’t be rolling out HIV-preventing PrEP drugs

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Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) drug Truvada can reduce people’s chances of being infected with HIV by up to 99 percent, if taken daily. The drug has been endorsed by the World Health Organisation and is already routinely available to at-risk gay men in a number of countries, including the United States, Canada, France and Israel.

In a first for a world leader, Prime Minister David Cameron had last week intervened by calling for the NHS to “reach a decision on this quickly”, suggesting “these treatments can help and make a difference.”
However, NHS England has again declined to commission PrEP – again suggesting a further small-scale trial at “early implementer” cites instead of a roll-out, despite ample evidence of its efficacy.

HIV activists attacked the “shameful” decision. A statement from the National AIDS Trust says: “PrEP is an HIV prevention drug, proven to be effective in stopping HIV transmission in almost every case if taken properly. The decision by NHS England not even to consider commissioning PrEP came after 18 months of hard work from an NHS working group (comprising clinicians and experts from across the HIV sector) which demonstrated the need, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of PrEP.”

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