Why we’re covering this: PrEP is an important component in ending the HIV epidemic — and we’re all for it.
Truvada and other types of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) are an amazing form of HIV-prevention — PrEP has a very high effectiveness rate and requires users to regularly get tested for other sexually transmitted infections and blood issues.
Despite its effectiveness and the fact that you can get a PrEP prescription from any doctor, not all doctors know about PrEP, as Bob the Drag Queen of RuPaul’s Drag Race explains in this hilarious PrEP PSA.
And that’s not where the deficiencies end either. On May 31, the National Health Service (NHS) — the United Kingdom’s socialized medicine system — announced they will not provide PrEP for at least two years. because of sticky legal issues. In short, if the NHS allocates government funding to PrEP, it could “present risk of legal challenge from proponents of other ‘candidate’ treatments and interventions that could be displaced by PrEP if NHS England were to commission it.”
I have been a supporter of HIV charities for 35 years and seen remarkable medical and social breakthroughs in treating infection and stigma. But I never imagined I would be alive to see the day when a pill was created that could actually prevent HIV.
It is remarkable and thrilling to witness so tremendous an achievement, but deeply frustrating in equal measure to discover that our national health service has pointedly refused to provide it to people at significant risk of infection from HIV.
Surely this must be challenged: if not in the name of humanity then in the name of economy and plain common sense.
We agree with Stephen Fry — PrEP should and must be provided to anyone who needs it. Even Prime Minister David Cameron agrees that PrEP is important. He said, “There’s no doubt there is a rising rate of [HIV] infection. These treatments can help and make a difference.”
Late last year, France became the second country — and the first with a national health service — to approve PrEP. With luck and, as Fry says, common sense, England’s NHS will change their minds and approve the drug.