NHS in England has announced it will fund prescribing PrEP to reduce the risk of being infected with HIV from September

Wednesday 9 August 2017

NHS England fought a court case against funding the prescription of PrEP, arguing responsibility for paying for it should fall to local authorities not the NHS. Following defeat in the Courts on 3 August 2017, NHS England announced it will fund the drug from September 2017.

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NHS England fought a court case against funding the prescription of PrEP arguing responsibility for paying for it should fall to local authorities not the NHS. Following defeat in the Courts on 3 August 2017, NHS England announced it will fund the drug from September 2017.

PrEP will be given to 10,000 people in a £10-million trial lasting three years. The Terrence Higgins Trust said it was "crucial" the NHS delivered plans to offer the protection routinely. PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a daily pill that disables HIV in cells before it becomes infective. Trials so far suggest it can cut the risk of being infected by up to 86%.

NHS Scotland has already announced it will make PrEP available on the NHS to people at risk of HIV. And in Wales, the Welsh assembly has already authorised trialling the drug. Sexual health clinics in London, Brighton, Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield are expected to be the first to offer PrEP to high-risk people, starting September. The rest of the country will take part by April 2018.

Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, said:

"This major new intervention should complement and supercharge the wide-ranging and increasingly successful effort to prevent HIV. It's another milestone in more than three decades' worth of progress in tackling one of humanity's major health challenges."

Ian Green, chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, said:

"The priority must now be to make sure that the trial reaches everyone at risk of HIV, and that it is rolled out speedily across the whole country, by the end of this year at the very latest - spring 2018 is not soon enough. To make sure no-one at risk of HIV is left behind, it is crucial that at the end of this trial, a clear process for routinely commissioning Prep on the NHS is agreed."

Deborah Gold, the chief executive at the National Aids Trust, said:

"This is a pivotal moment in the fight against HIV. PrEP, if targeted properly at those in need and at high risk of HIV, offers the possibility of transforming the English HIV epidemic.  We warmly welcome this announcement."

More information is available on the NHS England announcement and the BBC.

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