The HIV preventative drug prophylaxis should be made available on the NHS for high-risk groups including gay men and BAME communities, the Liberal Democrats have urged.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a once-a-day pill that reduces the risk of HIV infection by 86%. In August, the High Court ruled that NHS England could fund the drug. NHS England had argued that because PrEP was preventative it was not its responsibility, and has now said it will appeal against the ruling.
At their annual conference today Liberal Democrats called on the Government to fast-track availability of PrEP on the NHS for those most at risk of HIV, alongside public information campaigns about the importance of effective condom use and other preventative methods.
Modelling by Public Health England has shown adopting PreP could prevent over 7400 new HIV infections by 2020.
Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Norman Lamb said:
"The Government must must fast-track availability of PrEP on the NHS without further delay."
"It is shocking that a drug that has been shown to be so effective in preventing HIV infections is not being made freely available to high risk groups."
"This drug has the potential to prevent thousands of people from contracting the virus, meaning many lives saved and fewer NHS resources spent in the long-term."