There is no doubt that finding a way to prevent transmission of HIV is one of the most important goals for any health service or society in general. Whilst HIV can be treated with anti-retroviral drugs it would be much better for there to be no more transmissions. That is why UNAIDS has been working towards “Getting to Zero” for the last few years.
NHS England has recently decided to scrap its work on providing PrEP. There were plans for a public consultation with a final decision on the issue in June. These have now been abandoned.
In response to the press release put out by NHS England, NAT has said,
“NAT shares the anger and distress felt by many thousands of people across the country at NHS England’s decision to abandon its work to provide PrEP, near the very end of the process. In a shocking U-turn, NHS England has pulled the plug on over 18 months of hard work which demonstrated the need, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of PrEP.
“Instead of a long-term policy to give PrEP to all who need it, there will be £2 million over two years for 500 gay men ‘most at risk’. The decision is not informed by any due process; the amount of money is arbitrary; the claim that more ‘testing’ of PrEP is needed is disingenuous. 500 does not remotely cover the number of gay men at high risk of HIV nor meet the needs of heterosexuals at risk. There is no clarity within the Department of Health, the NHS or Public Health England as to who long-term is responsible to commission and fund PrEP.
“This is simple maladministration with serious consequences. Over 5,000 gay men will get HIV over the next two years – very many of whom would not have done so if PrEP had been delivered as proposed.
“The US, Canada, France, Israel, Kenya have all made PrEP available. Faced with one of the most exciting prevention options to emerge since the HIV epidemic began, and which offers the prospect of real success in combatting this virus, the NHS has failed miserably to deliver.
“We call on Ministers to intervene and reverse this deplorable decision – securing a process to provide PrEP on the basis of evidence and need.”
There appears to be much confusion about who is responsible for what in the healthcare system in England, and I fear that this is only going to get worse. It is time for a national body truly responsible for ensuring that systems that will benefit the whole country (not just England but the UK) are put in place.
Perhaps there will be work done by the devolved administrations in Holyrood, Cardiff, and Stormont on this issue. Somehow, I fear, we should not hold our breath.
Make Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (Prep) immediately available on the NHS
Sign the online petition here.
PrEP is as effective as condoms in preventing HIV transmission Studies PROUD & IPERGAY both showed that PrEP dramatically reduced infections-no instances of someone who was taking PrEP properly getting HIV
NHS England won’t provide PrEP until late 2016 at the earliest This is too long to wait
Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a prevention option for people who are at high risk of getting HIV. It’s meant to be used consistently, as a pill taken every day,
Terrence Higgins Trust is advocating for PrEP because it has the potential to prevent new infections among some of those at greatest risk of acquiring HIV.
PrEP is not yet available through the NHS on prescription and there is no agreement yet for when this may happen.
Proud Study – http://www.proud.mrc.ac.uk