LGBT Labour welcomes the news today that the National AIDS Trust has won its court case against the decision by NHS England not to support PrEP on the grounds that it was ‘not responsible for commissioning of prevention services’. This was short-sight and has now been shown to be legally incorrect.
There are 110,000 people living with HIV in the UK and each year over 4,000 people are diagnosed with the virus. Big strides have been made in HIV detection and medication but PrEP has the potential to be a powerful new weapon in HIV prevention. If taken daily PrEP has been shown to be extremely effective in reducing the risk of HIV transmission. It is readily available in the United States and it had been expected to be made available in the UK following a successful recent study.
Ian Dylan Thomas, LGBT Labour co-chair said: “Today’s High Court ruling is very welcome and is a vindication of those who have been calling for PrEP to made available via the NHS.
“It is a hugely significant drug with the potential to be a game-changer in HIV prevention. Preventative medicine is extremely important and makes sense on both medical and cost grounds.
“NHS England should not be picking and choosing which preventative services they support and passing it down to local authority level will lead to a postcode lottery which will place the most vulnerable at the highest risk. It again shows the need for a clear and consistent public health strategy.
“It is very disappointing that NHS England has chosen to appeal this decision as this will add further delay. The focus should be on establish a plan to roll out PrEP and continuing the fight against HIV infection.”