The fight to end new HIV transmissions in England and Wales is being severely limited according to the Head of Policy, Debbie Laycock, at the Terrence Higgins Trust.
Although there are plans to make PrEP more widely available from April, Laycock says that the “continued lack of detail from Ministers about what a national programme will look like” gives the charity, “serious concerns”.
In a statement, Debbie Laycock, said,
“PrEP stops HIV and limiting access is holding us back in the fight to end new HIV transmissions by 2030. News that the Government plans to make PrEP routinely available by April is long overdue but we have serious concerns about the continued lack of detail from Ministers about what a national programme will look like.”
As it stands, there is a limited medical trial in England and Wales for those at risk of contracting HIV. These trial places are very limited and many people, particularly gay and bisexual men have been denied placement or have had to wait on a list until a placement becomes available.
In Scotland PrEP is available on the NHS.
The Terrace Higgins Trust is concerned, as local councils, who will most likely be responsible for the drug’s distribution, are under enormous financial pressures since having their budgets slashed by the Conservative government by 25% since 2014.
The government needs to “put his money where its mouth is”
Debbie Laycock said,
“If the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock is serious about championing public health, he needs to put his money where his mouth is and provide councils with the resources they need to make PrEP available.’
“We’ve seen delay after delay on PrEP and we simply cannot wait any longer. The countdown to ending new HIV transmissions by 2030 has started and it’s time PrEP had a proper home so no one is turned away from this HIV game-changer.’
What is PrEP?
Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, it is a drug treatment protocol using prescription medicine and has been shown in clinical trials to be highly effective in preventing HIV, when taken daily and used in combination with other infection prevention measures.
The once-a-day pill contains two main drugs (tenofovir and emtricitabine) and is already routinely used in combination with other medicines to treat existing HIV infection, helping those living with HIV to lower their viral load and effectively becoming undetectable.
Find out about the PrEP trial, click here