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UK's National Health Service Refuses to Fund PrEP

UK's National Health Service Refuses to Fund PrEP

Though PReP is 99% effective in preventing HIV when taken regularly, NHS claims it is not responsible to fund the preventive drug. 

In a shocking move, United Kingdom's National Health Service has refused to fund a national rollout of HIV-preventative drugs. Endorsed by the World Health Organization, PReP has been approved for treatement in the United States, Canada, France, and Israel, yet the NHS has declared they are not responsible for protecting over 2,5000 high-risk gay men from HIV. 

In a statement on the NHS England website, the organization wrote:

"While NHS England is not responsible for commissioning HIV prevention services, we are committed to working with local authorities, Public Health England, the Department of Health and other stakeholders as further consideration is given to making PrEP available for HIV prevention."

“By denying full availability of PrEP we are failing those who are at risk of HIV,” Jackie Morton, CEO of the Terrence Higgins Trust, a major AIDS organization in the U.K., told NewNowNext. “Today’s decision by NHS England to depart with due process, and, instead, offer a tokenistic nod to what has the potential to revolutionize HIV prevention in the U.K., is shameful."

The organization will only provide £2 million in PReP funding and local authorities will be forced to bid for the funding in order to protect the 500 people most at risk. In response to the NHS claiming it is not responsible for providing preventive services, Yusef Azad, director of strategy at the National Aids Trust, raised the point to Daily Mail that NHS provides immunizations and vaccinations. 

Meanwhile, there have been reports of gay men clinic-hopping in order to get PReP, and some doctors will only prescribe the drug within 24 hours after unsafe sex. Asof now, PReP is only avaliable in research trials and privately in the U.K., causing us to fear that low-income gay men will be left defenseless.

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Andre Wheeler