NHS Scotland to fund 'game-changer' Prep HIV drug

A “sport-altering” drug which dramatically reduces the possibilities of being infected with HIV is to be made available on the NHS in Scotland.

The Scottish Drug Treatments Consortium (SMC) has agreed to approve the therapy, which is referred to as Prep.

Scientists have discovered that a day-to-day dose of the drug can Protect individuals at risk of contracting the virus.

It way Scotland will turn into the primary position within the UK to robotically supply Prep to eligible sufferers.

Campaigners welcomed the SMC’s choice, describing it as a “daring step” which might result in a reduction in the spread of the virus.

They estimate that up to 1,900 individuals north of the border may make the most of the drug, which has the brand title Truvada.

Secure intercourse practices

The anti-retroviral drug is already licensed to be used by way of people recognized with HIV in Scotland.

However, the SMC’s resolution pertains to its use on a preventative basis by using people who do not need the virus.

The crew mentioned Prep was once one aspect of a wider HIV prevention strategy and it should be used in aggregate with Secure sex practices equivalent to using condoms.

SMC chairman Dr Alan MacDonald mentioned: “[Prep] when used along with safer intercourse practices may just assist to reduce the spread of HIV, which is an ongoing priority for the Scottish govt.”

It used to be one in every of series of substances approved by means of the body, together with Kadcyla, which is used to treat aggressive and evolved forms of breast cancer.


What does Prep do?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or Prep for short) is a small, blue tablet.

The tablet works by way of defending cells within the physique and disabling the virus to forestall it multiplying – will have to it enter the physique.

Taking it as soon as a day has been discovered to cut back the danger of HIV infection through 86%.

It’s at the moment used in the us, Canada, Australia and France to assist Protect gay men on the easiest chance of contracting HIV.


The Choice on Prep used to be welcomed through a group of charities, including HIV Scotland and the Terrence Higgins Belief Scotland, which had campaigned as the Prep4Scotland Coalition.

In a statement, they stated: “We applaud the SMC for taking this daring step to tackling HIV in Scotland.

“Prep provides opportunities to reinvigorate how people at greater possibility of HIV exposure engage with trying out and prevention opportunities, and it is a important probability to make a real discount within the selection of new HIV transmissions.

“All NHS Boards in Scotland wish to now practice the SMC’s recommendation and be certain that they’re making Prep to be had to people who want it, so that no-one at risk is left behind.”

‘Stigmatised condition’

Robert McKay, the nationwide director for the Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland, said the move might keep the Health provider heaps of pounds.

“As Of Late, Scotland has made historical past in the combat in opposition to the HIV epidemic,” he mentioned.

“Prep can now be used as a essential software – alongside condom use, common checking out and early therapy – to help carry an finish to HIV transmission in Scotland.

“No Longer simplest will this make a life-altering difference to people via defending them from a lifelong and stigmatised condition, but for every one who would have transform HIV positive with out Prep, NHS Scotland will shop £360,000 in lifetime therapy prices.”

Previous, HIV Scotland’s chief government George Valiotis stated that there was once a growing demand for the therapy in Scotland.

He estimated that “a couple of dozen” Scots are already the use of versions of the drug after buying widely wide-spread versions on-line.


‘Why I Buy Prep on-line’

Gordon Garioch is one of around “a few dozen” people in Scotland considered taking Prep often.

He advised BBC Radio Scotland’s Excellent Morning Scotland that he was once firstly prescribed the drug by a private health center But It used to be too dear.

He now spends around £50 a month on a universal form of the drug he purchases from a web based pharmacy.

“It offers me reassurance,” he said. “I’ve always been careful.

“My chums have all the time been cautious but for some reason they was positive. So I take this extra reassurance for me to forestall myself becoming positive.”

Asked what the benefits of The Decision would be, he spoke back: “To me individually, clearly it will be the fee.

“But It Surely’s a technology thing as neatly, to stop HIV for future generations for people who are No Longer as lucky as myself who can pay for it.”


HIV Scotland believes the use of Prep has performed a component in decreasing the number of HIV infections in Scotland.

The Latest figures from Health Safety Scotland exhibit 285 new instances of HIV had been suggested in 2016, down from an annual moderate of 359 over the past five years.

The manufacturer of Truvada, Gilead, applied to the SMC after they were urged to take action with the aid of the Scottish executive remaining 12 months.

It followed a collection of criminal battles in England over whether or not the NHS or local authorities should pay for the medication.

The Court of Appeal in the end dominated that NHS England had the facility to fund the drug,

The Decision did not imply that NHS England needed to fund Prep however in December it announced plans for a large scale scientific trial of the drug, expected to contain 10,000 contributors over three years.

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