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Nigel Farage claims Britain is ‘incapable’ of treating HIV because of immigrants

Nick Duffy April 30, 2015

Nigel Farage has claimed during an Ask the Leaders debate that the UK is ‘incapable’ of treating people with HIV because of immigration.

The UKIP leader has repeatedly claimed that “foreigners with HIV” are causing a funding crisis within the NHS – despite his statistics being denounced as misleading and inaccurate.

He made more the comments in an Ask The Leaders interview with the BBC, following a special Question Time featuring the three main party leaders.

Mr Farage said: “I think we could save easily one billion pounds a year. The issue I specifically raised was the issue that since 2012, anybody can come to Britain, and get HIV treatment on the NHS.

“It’s interesting. I have here a letter from a 30-year-old HIV positive man in London, who says ‘why are the waiting rooms now full to overflowing? Why does it now take me three weeks to get an appointment?’

“He says it’s because since 2012, we are incapable of providing HIV treatment for people legally living here.”

He is referring to a letter the party shared from a British man, who claims he can’t get adequate treatment for HIV because of “immigrants”.

Earlier this month, UKIP refused to drop Parliamentary candidate Alan Craig, after PinkNews revealed was set to attend a ‘gay cure’ conference.

When asked which kinds of people should be allowed to enter the UK in October, Mr Farage said: “People who do not have HIV, to be frank. That’s a good start.”

Dr Rosemary Gillespie, Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “We take an inclusive approach to treatment of HIV in this country because it is a public health issue.

“The vast majority of HIV is acquired in the UK and we need to treat everyone. Not only does this save lives but it is also the most effective way to prevent onward transmission of HIV. People living with HIV are strong advocates for better treatment and care and continue to help improve services.

“If there is a problem with local service provision we encourage people to speak out and engage with their with the appropriate authorities to solve problems and make things better.

“HIV treatment and care has changed a lot over the years, thanks to effective treatment people are living to normal life expectancies so there are more people living with HIV as they age.

“HIV is so well managed now that once people are stable and on treatment they do not normally need to see their HIV clinician more than twice a year unless they have long-term health complications.

“However, everyone living with HIV requires long-term treatment to enable them to live, work, volunteer and be a part of our society.”

Deborah Gold, chief executive of the National AIDS Trust said: “HIV clinic services have not been downgraded as a result of migration. This is a fact.

“The UK’s medical care for people living with HIV is world-leading, with 98% of newly diagnosed people starting treatment and care when recommended and 90% of people in HIV treatment achieving complete viral suppression – meaning they no longer have enough of the virus in their blood to be infectious or to get ill.

“These excellent results are consistent across the UK in all ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations. This is something as the UK we should be extremely proud of.”

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