NHS England have confirmed responsibility for funding post exposure prophylaxis (PEP), a treatment that can prevent HIV infection after the virus has entered a person’s body.
However, the battle continues to see NHS England accept the same responsibility for funding PrEP – a game-changing treatment that is taken before exposure to HIV. Earlier this year NHS England shelved structured plans for PrEP availability on the NHS, but then last week said they “will carefully consider its position on commissioning PrEP”.
Ian Green, Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, said:
“We are pleased that NHS England has finally been clear on their responsibility for reimbursing local authorities for antiretroviral drugs used to prevent HIV infection after exposure to the virus.
“What remains to be seen is whether they will accept the same responsibility for funding PrEP, a pill taken once a day by HIV negative people who are at high risk to prevent transmission.
“Every day that access to PrEP is delayed, seven men who have sex with men are infected with HIV, despite advances in HIV prevention. We need answers from NHS England on if and when access to PrEP will be available to those who are at highest risk. Only then can NHS England make a full commitment to HIV prevention.”