11th May 2016
Rari Vlad / Gay Times
David Cameron has announced that he will push the NHS for a decision on PrEP availability “in this month if possible”.
During the Prime Minister’s Questions today, Cameron spoke in favour of funding the Pre-exposure Prophylactic treatment Truvada on the NHS.
The treatment – which has been approved by the World Health Organisation – is already available for those deemed at risk of HIV in the United States, Canada, France and Israel.
PrEP can reduce people’s chances of contracting the virus if taken daily, however in March this year the NHS decided to prolong their decision instead of making the drug available.
Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer asked Cameron: “HIV infection rates in the UK are on the rise, and my right honourable friend will be aware that NHS England have refused to fund Pre-exposure Prophylactic treatment.
“Will my right honourable friend agree to meet with me in leading AIDS charities, so that we can review this unacceptable decision?”
The Prime Minister responded: “I think it’s right that [Mr Freer] raises this – it is my understanding that NHS England are considering their commissioning responsibility.
“I want them to reach a decision on this quickly, in this month if possible, because there’s no doubt there is a rising rate of infection. These treatments can help and make a difference.
“We are planning trial sites that are already all underway, we’ve invested £2 million to support these over the next two years. He’s right to raise this and I’ll make sure he gets the meetings he needs to make progress with it.”
Although there are no fixed dates, nor was Cameron very detailed in his answer, this is the most positive reply from the Government about PrEP so far.
Ian Green, CEO at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “We welcome David Cameron committing NHS England to making a long overdue decision on HIV prevention game changer, PrEP, this month.
“We urgently need NHS England to make PrEP available for those most at risk. Every day this is delayed, seven men who have sex with men are infected with HIV.”
He also thanked Mike Freer MP for “continuing to champion this life changing HIV prevention tool”.