Sunday 1 December 2019 / 9:57 AM Health / Lloyd Russell-Moyle / Sharon Hodgson

Labour pledges full roll out of PrEP treatment in 2020

The Labour Party has announced plans for a total roll out of PrEP treatment in England in 2020 and full funding of sexual health services across the UK, ahead of World Aids Day on 1st December.

PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, treatment is currently available as part of the IMPACT trial by NHS England. But new data by BASHH has found that, while awaiting access to the trial, nine gay and bisexual men in Greater Manchester have been diagnosed with HIV.

Sharon Hodgson, Labour’s shadow minister for public health, said:

“No one should be turned away from this revolutionary drug in the fight against HIV.

“With access to PrEP, HIV is an entirely avoidable infection that can be prevented.

“It is vital that people have control over their sexual health, which is why Labour will roll out PrEP treatment across England. We will also increase the public health grants to local authorities by £1billion per year, ensuring sexual health treatment is available to everyone who needs it.”

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who on 30th anniversary of World Aids Day in 2018 became the first sitting MP to reveal his HIV status in the House of Commons, said:

“Young men have needlessly contracted HIV as a direct result of this government’s policies on HIV.

“So when they say they want zero HIV transmission by 2030 I judge them on their actions and not on their hollow words.

“The response Jeremy showed to me personally on revealing my HIV status tells me he understands the issue and is committed to eradicating new HIV transmissions.”

Ends

Notes to editors

• What is PrEP?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PREP) is a pill taken daily or on demand prior to having sex, to prevent HIV infection. It involves a pill containing a combination of two anti-HIV drugs, emtricitabine and tenofovir, taken daily or around the time of sexual activity. https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/hiv-prevention/using-hiv-medication-to-reduce-risk/pre-exposure-prophylaxis

• How effective is PrEP?

The UK Medical Research Council-run Proud study, comparing gay men on Prep against non-users, found an 86% fall in new HIV infections in Prep users. Many in the sexual health sector say Prep, when taken correctly, is almost 100% effective. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-46653462

Diagnoses of HIV in England have fallen to their lowest level in almost two decades. Diagnoses fell by just over a quarter (28%) from 6,271 in 2015 to 4,484 in 2018. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/may/02/aids-hiv-timeline-terry-higgins-prep

• How do people access PrEP?

PrEP is being made available to 10,000 people in England as part of the IMPACT trial, which started in September 2017. For further information and to find out how to join, see the PrEP Impact Trial website.

In Scotland, PrEP is being rolled out across the country by NHS Scotland from July 2017. Visit the PrEPScot website to find out more information about how to access it.

In Wales, a three-year pilot began in July 2017. This is open to all Welsh residents via GUM clinics, and there is no cap on the number of people who can access it. For more information see the Public Health Wales website.
https://www.tht.org.uk/hiv-and-sexual-health/prep-pre-exposure-prophylaxis