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First LGBT health adviser Dr. Michael Brady pushes for nationwide PrEP rollout

Charlie Jones March 18, 2019
Penny Mordaunt MP and Dr. Michael Brady, Britain's first LGBT+ health adviser.

Dr. Michael Brady and Penny Mordaunt MP. (Twitter/@drmbrady/Dan Kitwood/Getty)

Britain’s first LGBT+ health adviser has backed calls to roll out HIV prevention pill PrEP nationwide, arguing it would save the NHS a significant amount of money.

Dr. Michael Brady, who on Sunday (March 17) was appointed as the first-ever National Adviser for LGBT+ Health, said there was “no doubt about the cost effectiveness of PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis).”

Speaking to Reuters, Dr. Brady, who is currently Medical Director of the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), said that for him “the argument has always been one of cost effectiveness not cost.”

“You actually put money back into the NHS pot very quickly by not having to spend £300,000 on lifetime treatment costs for HIV,” said Dr. Brady, who will take up his position on April 1 but retain a role at THT.

NHS England is currently halfway through its PrEP Impact Trial, which began with 10,000 participants but the NHS last month agreed to increase to 26,000 after gay and bisexual men were turned away from trial sites that reached capacity.

The drug, also known as Truvada, is already available free of charge on NHS Scotland.

Dr. Michael Brady appointed first LGBT+ health adviser, but calls trans rights ‘separate’ issue

Dr. Brady said his main priorities are “to improve the health and wellbeing of the LGBT community, improve the experience in the NHS and to reduce inequality,” according to Reuters.

He specified that this included dealing with mental health issues and LGBT+ people’s access to fertility services.

But Dr. Brady, who will be on an initial 12-month contract, said that he does not think his brief covers all aspects of the debate over transgender rights.

Antiretroviral pills Truvada, or PrEP.
Antiretroviral pills Truvada, or PrEP. (Justin Sullivan/Getty)

“I have a very health-focused remit, and some of the more challenging and difficult discussions around the trans issue are separate from the health issue,” he told Reuters.

Dr. Brady did promise that he had given the matter thought as “it is very toxic with all the stuff around gender assignment.”

“It is very toxic with all the stuff around gender assignment.”

—Dr. Michael Brady

Government appoints expert panel to deliver LGBT Action Plan

Minister for Woman and Equalities Penny Mordaunt also announced the appointment of 12 people to an advisory panel to guide the government on LGBT+ issues, as promised in last July’s Action Plan.

Ruth Hunt of Stonewall
Ruth Hunt, CEO of Stonewall, will be on the advisory panel. (Stonewall)

Members include chief executives of LGBT+ charities including Stonewall’s Ruth Hunt and The Kaleidescope Trust’s Paul Dillane, as well as professors, a human rights barrister and a representative of the Church of England.

The panel, who will meet on Monday (18 March) with Dr. Brady at the inaugural LGBT conference, will be tasked with some of the key issues raised in the Action Plan.

This will include conversion therapy, improving access and tackling inequality in healthcare.

“Dr Brady and the experts on our new Panel will give LGBT people and those working on their behalf a direct route to speak to government and shape policy on decisions that affect their daily lives,” pledged Mordaunt.

Mordaunt also stated that “everyone should be able to love who they wish to and live their life free from fear and discrimination.”

“That’s why we are working at pace with organisations and across government to make sure our Action Plan can bring about real, lasting change for LGBT people in the UK,” she said.

Britain's International Development Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt
Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt. (Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty)

Last month the government awarded £2.6 million to 12 LGBT+ organisations as part of the Action Plan.

But the plan attracted criticism from campaigners for failing to offer a commitment to bring equal marriage to Northern Ireland, and failing to address the needs of LGBT+ asylum seekers.

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