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House of Lords to debate how Government can eliminate HIV in the UK

Joseph McCormick May 19, 2016
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The House of Lords is set to debate how the Government is able to “eliminate” new HIV infections in the UK.

A debate will be held in the House of Lords, after a question was asked by Lord Guy Black of Brentwood on how the Government plans to bring down rates of HIV transmission.

The debate will “ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to move toward the elimination of HIV infection in the United Kingdom.”

Speaking to PinkNews on the announcement that the debate was secured, Lord Black said: “Despite huge advances in medicine and prevention that were unimaginable only a few years ago, there are still too many new HIV infections and too many people in the UK living with it.

“I want to be assured that the Government is doing all it can, and enabling those remarkable people on the front-line of this fight, to ensure that one day we can be rid of HIV once and for all.”

A date is yet to be set for the debate on the issue.

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) drug Truvada can drastically reduce people’s chances of being infected with HIV by up to 99 percent, if taken daily.

The drug has been endorsed by the World Health Organisation and is already routinely available to at-risk men in a number of countries, including the United States, Canada, France and Israel.

In the UK, NHS England is currently re-considering whether it should make the drugs available – while Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland would go its own way on the issue.

In the UK, a recently concluded two-year study found the drug was greatly effective at reducing the risk of HIV transmission – but in a surprise U-turn earlier in April, NHS England kicked the issue into the long grass by ordering a further two-year study instead of a roll-out.

Nearly half of gay men would be interested in taking HIV-preventing medication if it were available in the UK, a study found last month.

Related topics: Health, PrEP

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