Thursday, 10 November 2016

NHS England Lose PrEP Appeal

Judges have today told NHS England that they have the legal power to commission PrEP, a HIV prevention drug which many have labelled "a game changer", in terms of the fight against the condition.

Key facts:
  • PrEP is short for pre-exposure prophylaxis.
  • It involves people who are HIV negative but at high risk of infection taking the nti-retoviral drug Truvada.
  • Truvada has been shown to reduce the risk of infection among at risk people by 90%.
  • It takes one week of taking the pill to build up maximum protection and costs £400 a month per person.
  • Each year 4,000 people in the United Kingdom get HIV.
The Supreme Court decision means the NHS are ordered to cover the costs of providing PrEP to thousands of people who are at risk of contracting HIV because their partners have the virus.

The Government had appealed against an earlier High Court decision to force the NHS to fund the treatment for 10,000 people.

Controversially the NHS have claimed that funding PrEP would mean not being able to pay for nine other treatments, including a drug for Cystic Fibrosis and hearing implants for deaf people.

The Chief Executive of the National Aids Trust, Deborah Gold has said she is delighted to have been "vindicated by the court second time", adding that "PrEP works, it saves money, and most importantly it has the power to prevent HIV acquisition for thousands of people."

Campaigners took to social media to welcome today's decision, including Greg Owen, the Co-Founder of

Others used the moment to say they felt (like many campaigners) do that the initial stance by NHS England was homophobic.

One of the main focusses by campaigners has also been to point out the cost savings that the drug will bring, as mentioned it has been proven to reduce infection by 90%, which campaigners say will save the NHS money.

Health Campaigners have advised people to be cautious about PrEP, saying that the drug, whilst it is a major breakthrough should not take precedent over safe sex measures, such as using condoms.

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