HIV-preventing drugs PrEP could soon be available on the NHS.
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) drug Truvada can drastically reduce people’s chances of being infected with HIV if taken daily.
A £50 million scheme will see the drug Truvada made available to men on the NHS.
This comes as research continues to show that a daily does of the drug could as much as halve new infections.
The new scheme has been praised by proponents of PrEP who say it is a “game-changer”.
New research published today shows that the drug will prevent thousands of men from contracting HIV in the next few years.
The sometimes controversial treatment has become more widely accepted, and is already in some jurisdictions abroad.
Despite fears that PrEP could lead to men who have sex with men taking more risks, it has been shown to cut the risk of contracting HIV by 90 percent.
A model of the usage of the pill how it would be across the world published in The Lancet HIV, calculated that infection rates could fall by as much as 59 percent in gay and bisexual men.
This was based on if all gay men were offered the drug.
In theory, this could lead to preventing 10,000 new diagnoses by 2020.
“Current prevention efforts in the UK that focus on correct and consistent condom use and regular HIV testing have been falling short,” Narat Punyacharoensin, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and the lead author of the study, told the Times.
“Our results show that pre-exposure prophylaxis offers a major opportunity to curb new infections and could help reverse the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men in the UK.”
A spokesman for NHS England added: “NHS England is working with local authorities and others across the NHS to consider the clinical and cost effectiveness of providing pre-exposure prophylaxis to at-risk groups.”
A new study attempts to address concerns about the side-effects of HIV-preventing PrEP drugs – finding the drugs are as safe as Aspirin.