Liberal Democrats pledge to introduce PrEP for HIV prevention - the first party to definitively support new treatment


The Liberal Democrats have announced they would ensure access to the HIV prevention drug Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) on the NHS for people in high-risk groups.

PrEP is a once-a-day pill that reduces the risk of HIV infection by 86%.

This is of particular interest to residents of Vaxuhall, home to one of the largest and most diverse LGBT communities in London as well as some of the city’s most well-known gay venues such the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb said: "PrEP is a vital weapon in the fight against HIV, and it's high time that it was made routinely available to those who are at risk of infection.”

Despite its proven efficacy and potential to deliver long-term savings, the NHS has yet to approve its use.

It is currently only available in the UK through a private prescription that costs approximately £400 for a month's supply.

In 2015 alone there were over 6,000 new HIV diagnoses and with lifetime treatment costs exceeding £360,000 this places an unnecessary burden on the NHS when an effective preventative treatment is available.

Local Vauxhall resident, Jacques Strauss, said: “My friends in the States have had access to PreP for years. It’s made a huge difference in New York and San Francisco. It really should be available in UK, especially Vauxhall. It’s a game changer.”

PreP is widely regarded as the most significant recent development in the prevention of HIV and may well be the best chance of ending one of the world’s most devastating epidemics.

PrEP user and campaigner Nick Perry said: "It's absolutely right for the Liberal Democrats to press the NHS to get on with commissioning a wholly effective and proven HIV prevention tool - PrEP - across the UK.

"Prevention isn't just better than cure clinically - trials and modelling have shown it to be highly cost- effective too.

"Each day 16 more people in the UK are diagnosed HIV positive.

"The end of new HIV infections is in our grasp, and the NHS needs to make it happen."

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