Charities and campaigners have reacted with anger and disbelief that plans to roll out a widely anticipated HIV prevention drug have been stalled by NHS England.
The sector had been waiting for the announcement of the first ever public consultation on the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in the UK, now overdue by a month. Instead today NHS England announced it was not their responsibility to commission the drug.
The HIV treatment pill Truvada containing PrEP can be taken on a daily basis – in a similar way that women take the contraceptive pill – by men who have sex with men to dramatically reduce the risk of HIV transmission. In February 2015, a Proud (pre-exposure option for reducing HIV in the UK: immediate or deferred) study reported that PrEP had effectively reduced the risk of HIV infection by 86%.
Terrence Higgins Trust, the largest provider of HIV and sexual health services in the voluntary sector, expressed shock and disbelief as structured plans for introducing the drug were shelved.
Full story in The Guardian 21 March 2016