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Anti-HIV treatment approved by High Court

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The PrEP drugs have previously been restricted The PrEP drugs are highly effective in preventing HIV

NHS England has been instructed that it can fund the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs (PrEP), which can prevent HIV, after a judicial review by the High Court.

Previously, NHS England had argued that it was the duty of councils to provide the drugs, as they are responsible for public health, something that was challenged by the National AIDS Trust.

‘This is fantastic news. It is vindication for the many people who were let down when NHS England absolved itself of responsibility for PrEP. The judgement has confirmed our view – that it is perfectly lawful for NHS England to commission PrEP. Now NHS England must do just that,’ said Deborah Gold, chief executive of the National AIDS Trust.

Previously, PrEP drugs have only been available in the UK to at-risk gay and bisexual men as part of a research trial. A study by UCL reported that they are 86% effective in preventing the spread of the virus.

‘Over 4000 people are getting HIV every year in the UK - we desperately need further prevention options to add to condom use,’ added Ms Gold. ‘PrEP works. It saves money and it will make an enormous difference to the lives of men and women across the country who are at risk of acquiring HIV. The delay to commissioning PrEP is both unethical and expensive.’

However, the decision has been appealed by NHS England, on the basis that the drugs are not cost-effective, meaning that they will not be available for some time. Taking medication costs between £360 and £400 per month, according to the Terrence Higgins Trust.

Dr Jonathan Fielden, NHS England’s deputy national medical director, said: 'This does not imply that PrEP – at what could be a cost of £10-20 million a year – would actually succeed as a candidate for funding when ranked against other interventions.'

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

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What has happened to Health Education, this should be more widespread throughout the UK. The Health Service is not a service to pick up and treat lifestyle choices. Individuals should be made more responsible for their own health and should consider the health and welfare of others.
The money I believe could be better spent on on sound embedded proven health education and self care advice.
To allow this drug to be financed I believe will result in more irresponsible behaviour and even increasing risks to others
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I do respect that prevention is better than cure. AIDs/HIV can be prevented by the use of condoms. It concerns me that the already stretched NHS will be having to fund these druhgs when using condoms is an effective way. It worries me that this will give the green light for more promiscuity amongst people and the use of condoms going out the window - therefore more STDs to treat as a result (again increasing costs to the NHS). Surely the patient should be resposible for keeping themselves safe from disease? I'm also concerned that non preventable illnesses and disease will have their budgets cut to provide these meds. Try explaining to the cancer patient - "we cannot give you this drug - the money is being spent on medications to prevent HIV/AIDs" - the patient responds "but condoms can prevent HIV/AIDs, I cannot wear a condom to protect me from cancer!" Sorry to appear harsh - I respect that sex is important to many people, that there are high risk groups, jobs in the sex trades etc - but take resposibility for you own actions. Wear a condom!
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TO MUCH MONEY AS USUAL. WHAT ABOUT HUMAN LIFE? We could all save money in the NHS millions in many ways other than a lottery on why people should or should not have treatment because of money .
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