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CNWL comments on news that once-a-day drug to prevent infection with HIV could be offered on the NHS

An article published in the Daily Mail yesterday claims that a once-a-day drug to prevent infection with HIV could be offered to thousands of men on the NHS.

The pill, called Truvada, is pre-exposure prophylaxis medication (PrEP) which prevents new infections by killing the virus before it has a chance to take hold in the body.

Dr Mags Portman, CNWL Sexual Health and HIV Consultant, said: "Staff at CNWL have been advocating for PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV) since the PROUD study results were published in 2015.

“This UK study recruited HIV negative men, including gay men and men who have sex with men, as well as transgender women, who had sex without condoms in the preceding three months. It showed that taking a daily pill called Truvada reduced the risk of becoming infected with HIV by 86%.

“It's great to see a further study published in the Lancet today showing that PrEP, along with expansion of other HIV prevention strategies, could have a significant impact upon new HIV infections in men who have sex with men.”

Dr Laura Waters, CNWL HIV Consultant said: "It is really exciting to have further evidence on how PrEP can be an important addition to current HIV prevention strategies".

PrEP is not currently available on the NHS; NHS England will make a decision about whether to fund Truvada for use as PrEP in June 2016.

Dr Portman, continued: “In the meantime, we are aware that people at risk of HIV are accessing PrEP in different ways, including obtaining generic (non-brand) versions cheaply online. We cannot fully endorse this, because drugs bought online may not have gone through the same safety processes as generic drugs used for other conditions on the NHS but at Mortimer Market we believe that we have a responsibility towards people who are buying PrEP online, to keep them as safe as possible and are happy to see people who need PrEP monitoring.”