Here at SexEd we are extremely happy to hear the recent news of Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) being made available to those at risk of HIV in Scotland!
PrEP (not to be confused with PEP) is a drug taken by those who may be at risk of contracting HIV, for example those with a HIV positive partner. It is taken daily to stop HIV from spreading throughout the body. Trials of PrEP have been excellent in showing that PrEP significantly lowers the risk of becoming HIV positive without any major side effects. Currently in the UK PrEP is unavailable on the NHS but can be given by private prescription from selected sexual health clinics. There is also one specialist PrEP clinic in London at 56 Dean Street. However, sometimes those who need it have to pay for it if they can’t access it from there local sexual health service and it can be quite costly starting at £400 a month.
There are approximately 101,200 people living with HIV in the UK so we think it is an extremely sensible decision that Scotland has made, which has made us wonder why England hasn’t yet done the same? PrEP could be the beginning of getting rid of HIV in the UK- yet in 2016 the NHS decided to cut commissioning of PrEP from its budget, this was taken to court by NAT who historically got the ruling overturned. The NHS said they resisted the roll out of PrEP due to the cost, however it costs approximately £360,000 a lifetime to treat a person with HIV. In the long term- funding PrEP has been shown to be more cost-effective than treating someone who has HIV for a lifetime.
Other news published on PrEP:
Take a look at the I want PrEP now! Campaign here
Have a look what The Guardian had to say here
See what the BBC had to say here