“we’d love to have a cuppa to explain”
Ooo the sass coming from the Terrence Higgins Trust’s Twitter feed, the UK’s leading HIV charity, was palpable and we love it. In the tweet, they slam the Mail Online for fuelling misinformation, myths and stigma surrounding the use of PrEP.
There’s no place in the media for articles filled with misinformation, myths and stigma-fuelling.@RossJournoClark, we’d love to have a cuppa to explain how your @MailOnline PrEP piece does this, and how you can report more accurately and responsibly next time.
What do you say?
— Terrence Higgins Trust (@THTorguk) July 12, 2018
So far the journalist who worked on a story nor the publication itself has replied to have a cuppa with THT.
In the article, Mail Online columnist Ross Clark, reveals that after a recent visit to his GP for a suspected hernia, she was unable to refer him to have an operation or to a specialist due the fact that he wasn’t in pain and didn’t have any heavy lifting in his job, the GP told him he “wasn’t bad enough to qualify for funding under new NHS guidelines”.
However, later on in the article, he draws comparisons between what the NHS could pay for and what they couldn’t. PrEP and transgender surgery was, it seems, central to his argument.
He wrote, “There is the £22 million a year being spent on transgender surgery, at a cost of £20,000 per patient. There is £730 million a year being spent pumping drug addicts full of Methadone — a heroin substitute which is supposed to help wean people off that drug, but which is itself addictive.
“The NHS has started, too, to prescribe PrEP — a drug which cuts the risk of HIV transmission in gay men who have sex without a condom.
“It is prescribing the drug —which costs £400 a month for a single patient — in spite of warnings that it will be encouraging risky behaviour, and it could increase other infections such as syphilis and gonorrhea [sic], against which PrEP offers no protection.”
Speaking to THEGAYUK.com Liam Beattie, PrEP policy lead at Terrence Higgins Trust, said, “There’s no place in the media for articles filled with misinformation, myths and stigma-fuelling. Ross Clark’s piece on PrEP is highly inaccurate and we would love him to come in to Terrence Higgins Trust to find out more about the realities of PrEP. Because there’s nothing controversial about PrEP – it’s highly effective at preventing HIV, cost effective and will ultimately stop many, many people from becoming HIV positive.
“Currently PrEP is available in England via a 10,000 place trial but we want to see a national PrEP programme in England to ensure it’s made available to all who need it”’
There’s been no evidence to suggest that users on PrEP are being any more “risky” than those who currently aren’t on PrEP.
Recently the MailOnline lost a number of high-profile advertisers when companies started to pull out of contracts with the publication after a successful awareness campaign by pressure group, Stop Funding Hate. Eventually, the newspaper removed advertising from many of its columnists including Richard Littlejohn.