NHS can fund HIV prevention drug

NHS can fund HIV prevention drug

The leading AIDs charity the National Aids Trust (NAT) has won a legal challenge to NHS England’s refusal to fund a preventative treatment for AIDS.

NHS England had argued that it should not routinely fund the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drug as the treatment is preventative. It also said that it did not have the legal power to commission the drug and that this was the responsibility of local authorities.

However, the High Court sitting in London upheld NAT's challenge ruling that the treatment can be legally commissioned by the NHS.

The anti-retroviral drug which is used to stop HIV from becoming established in the event of transmission has been shown to reduce infection in people who are high risk by 90%. The once-a-day pill, which costs £400 a month per person, works by disabling the virus to stop it multiplying.

The NHS in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have not yet made a decision on PrEP.

See also: Are you living with HIV?

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome, a deficiency of the immune system due to infection with HIV. Full medical glossary
An organ with the ability to make and secrete certain fluids. Full medical glossary
The abbreviation for human immunodeficiency virus, which is the cause of AIDS. Full medical glossary
Invasion by organisms that may be harmful, for example bacteria or parasites. Full medical glossary
treatment given or action taken to prevent disease Full medical glossary
A microbe that is only able to multiply within living cells. Full medical glossary