PrEP

The High Court has told the NHS in England it can fund a drug that can prevent HIV – after health bosses argued it was not their responsibility.

NHS England previously said councils should provide the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drug as they are in charge of preventative health.

This stance was successfully challenged by the National Aids Trust (NAT) but the High Court ruling does not make funding of Prep automatic and the NHS is set to appeal.

According to trials, using Prep has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection by 86%. The once-a-day pill, which costs £400 a month per person, works by disabling the virus to stop it multiplying.

It is currently used in the US, Canada, Australia and France to help protect the most at-risk gay men.

And there we have it in a nutshell.

Harry Dodd, 25, is one of about 500 homosexual men in England who are taking Prep as part of a trial called Proud.

He says: “I’ve seen the panic on the face of previous boyfriends when they are awaiting their [HIV test] results – it’s a huge fear and it affects everything you do.

“To be able to have sex without having that fear hanging over you all the time is huge.”

Harry says taking Prep has still not become socially acceptable.

“Too many people seem to think it will encourage a hedonistic lifestyle, but for me this is about saving lives,” he says.

“People reacted with cynicism when the contraceptive pill for women was first introduced.

“For me, taking Prep has helped me to trust again, have relationships and build bridges and that shouldn’t be taken away.”

No, it shouldn’t but also it should not be paid for the the tax payer! The contraceptive pill and PrEP are two very different things. How can they even be compared?

Before you jump to conclusions, I am not anti-gay. I know a lot of gay men, not in that way, and the ones I happen to know are all in steady relationships. There may have been a time when they were bed hopping but that is in their past.

I am completely in favour of the drug being funded by the NHS for people who have a partner with HIV. In that situation it is vitally important that they can still have a sexual relationship and to do so without the fear that the other party will become infected.

However, this does not extend to the gay scene because the average person can use contraception. Yes, contraception does work and yes, it is inconvenient but so what?

In a time when the NHS is buckling under the pressure of spiralling costs and some cancer suffers have had their drugs withdrawn, why should a drug be made available just so people can have a hedonistic sex life?

Yes, this seems to be primarily aimed at gay men but, as we keep being told, heterosexual men and women are just as much at risk of infection.

The NHS was not designed for this kind of service or for providing boob jobs for girls with low esteem.

It is a step too far and I can only hope the law courts see sense and overturn the ruling because to compare PrEP to taking the contraceptive pill is just the PC brigade going a step too far!

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