Israel has become the latest country to approve the use of PrEP drugs to prevent HIV infection.
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) drug Truvada can drastically reduce people’s chances of being infected with HIV if taken daily.
The drug has been endorsed by the World Health Organisation and is routinely available to at-risk men in the US and a number of other countries – but is yet to be approved in many areas.
Israel became the latest country to greenlight the use of the drug among men who have sex with men this week, as part of efforts to prevent HIV.
The Jerusalem Post reports that the Knesset’s Labor, Social Welfare and Health Committee discussed PrEP this week, with Dr Yuval Livnat of the Israel Committee for Fighting AIDS strongly backing use of the drug by gay men, alongside HIV/AIDS specialist Dr Hila Elinav.
Health Ministry representative Neta Harel said that a recommendation on the issue had been accepted – and the government is currently considering how best to roll out PrEP to at-risk groups.
The newspaper reports: “The Health Ministry has approved a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) program to prevent HIV transmission, making Israel one of the first countries outside the US to use it”.
The news puts Israel ahead of the UK on the issue – where PrEP is still yet to become routinely available on the NHS despite successful trials.
The Lib Dem MP said: “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.”