Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Health, has called for PrEP to be made available on the NHS immediately.
Talking on the issue this week he said: “The fact that more than 6,000 more people became infected with HIV in Britain in 2013 shows that our efforts to combat the virus are clearly not working.
“It beggars belief that there is a drug which has been shown to be effective in preventing infection with the virus, but which has still not been made available on the NHS. We need to stop brushing the issue under the carpet and start to take HIV prevention seriously.
“I am urging the NHS to take urgent action to halt the spread of HIV by making PrEP available to people considered to be at high risk of catching the virus, without further delay. This could have an enormous impact on the lives of countless numbers of people in high-risk groups, and will turn out far cheaper than our current strategy of treating people once they become infected – which is wasteful both in terms of NHS resources and its human cost.”
LGBT+ Lib Dems chair Dave Page added, “On World AIDS Day we look forward to Getting to Zero – including zero new infections. PrEP is a valuable weapon in that fight. It has the power to be as revolutionary – and as controversial – as the introduction of the contraceptive pill in the 1960s, and we must avoid knee-jerk reactions of social conservatives who would permit further harm in the name of moral outrage.”
Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett, who became the UK’s first HIV+ Parliamentary candidate in 2015, said “combatting stigma is key to people talking about HIV and where people know they are at risk, getting help and support through whichever means including PREP will in the long run lessen HIV infections. On World AIDS day, I will be part of PWC GLEE Network panel debate on the issue of stigma and raising awareness of HIV and the multitude of factors around this including mental health, drug and chemsex addiction”.