On March 16th it was reported that the NHS would provide a drug to prevent HIV infection for people at risk of HIV infection. According to the Terrence Higgins Trust, about 103,800 people in the UK are infected with HIV, about 7 per cent of whom do not know they are hiv-positive.
Matt Hancock, the Health and Social Work Secretary, said: “HIV infection used to be a ‘death sentence’, but it still has a devastating impact on the lives of many people. “
THE NHS HAS CONDUCTED A THREE-YEAR STUDY INVOLVING MORE THAN 20,000 PEOPLE ON PRE-EXPOSURE HIV PREVENTION (PREP) DRUGS AND WILL PAY FOR THEM. Local authorities will receive funding from April and will provide a total of ?16m in 2020/21 to provide services to patients in the UK.
Preparations include taking antiretroviral drugs in HIV-negative people, which works by preventing the virus from replicating in the body. The drug is already available in Scotland to people who are considered to be at high risk of HIV infection, and trials are under way in Wales.
Matt Hancock said the preparation “completely eliminates the possibility of HIV infection” and that providing the service in the NHS would “benefit tens of thousands of lives” and hopefully eliminate new modes of transmission by the end of the century.