PrEP Drug That Prevents HIV Infection To Be Made Available

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A drug which prevents HIV infections is to be made available by the National Health Service this year in a move to try and eliminate new transmissions of the virus within the decade.

PrEP (pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) will be made routinely available to patients deemed to be at greater risk of catching HIV from April.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We are rolling out PrEP and making it available across the country – with evidence showing it almost completely eradicates the chances of getting HIV. This will benefit tens of thousands of people’s lives, and drive us towards our ambition of zero HIV transmissions in this decade.”

The Department of Health said local authorities will be given funding from April, with £16 million to be made available in 2020/21, to commission services in England for the first time to patients.

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Musician and Aids activist Sir Elton John told the Sunday Times the decision was the ‘right’ one. He added: “Taking PrEP prevents HIV from being passed on, which is truly incredible.

“It is the right decision for the UK Government to roll this out more widely to minimise the spread of this disease so more people are protected – which is critical in fighting any epidemic.”

PrEP involves HIV negative people taking antiretroviral medicine, which works by stopping the virus replicating in the body.

PrEP is already available in Scotland to people who are considered to be at high risk of contracting HIV, and a trial of the drug is taking place in Wales.

According to the Terrence Higgins Trust, most recent estimates suggest there were around 103,800 people living with HIV in the UK , and around 7% of those are not aware they are HIV positive.

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