Scotland has become the first country in the UK to approve the use of PrEP on the NHS.
NHS Scotland will become the first health service in the UK to prescribe PrEP after the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) announced that PrEP, the HIV prevention drug, has been deemed a cost-effective treatment to prevent the transmission of HIV. This means that gay and bisexual men will be able to access the drugs, for free, on the Scottish NHS.
Ian Howley, CEO of GMFA – the gay men’s health charity said,
“GMFA welcomes the news that PrEP will become available to those who are most at risk on the NHS in Scotland. Over the past year we have seen statistics that proves PrEP works and is helping in the fight against HIV. In some cases, GUM clinics have seen a 40% drop in new HIV infections. PrEP is the tool that we have been waiting for and I am delighted that gay and bisexual men in Scotland can now access PrEP free on the NHS.”
Meanwhile, NHS England has decided on running a three-year trial following legal battles in 2016. GMFA today called upon NHS England is drop its trial and follow in the footsteps of its Scottish sister service.
“This decision now calls into question as to why NHS England can not make PrEP available to all that need it and still insist on a three-year trial. We are now calling on NHS England to follow the footsteps of Scotland and provide PrEP to those who are at a higher risk.
“Every gay and bisexual man living in the entire UK deserves the right to access PrEP for free on the NHS. It’s time this became a reality. Too many gay and bisexual men are becoming HIV-positive and we now have a tool that can prevent new infections.”
“We congratulate the PrEP4Scotland Coalition, HIV Scotland, Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland, Waverley Care, and National AIDS Trust, on their hard work in getting PrEP available to all those who need it in Scotland.”