At least 15 people have been diagnosed with HIV while waiting for access to PrEP on NHS
At least 15 people in England have received a HIV diagnosis after being denied access to PrEP, a drug that stops a person from contracting the virus.
In England, people who want to access PrEP through the NHS must participate in a trial – however, places are restricted. Some of the trials are full and have been closed to new applicants.
It is possible to access PrEP outside of the trial, however doing so would require people to pay a high cost to get the drug privately.
One of the 15 people who contracted HIV while on a waiting list for PrEP spoke to Ben Hunte at BBC News and explained that he had been unable to afford the drug privately.
Man who contracted HIV after being denied PrEP was ‘stunned’ by diagnosis.
Just weeks after David was denied PrEP, he became sick and was later diagnosed with HIV. He was “stunned” by the diagnosis.
“It was just like, ‘Oh my God how, how has this happened?
“Trying from two different clinics to get on to it and not being able to get on to it, and then getting HIV – I was very, very angry about it.”
He said that PrEP should be “readily available” for anybody who wants it.
Trying from two different clinics to get on to it and not being able to get on to it, and then getting HIV – I was very, very angry about it.
Dr Iain Reeves, lead clinician for HIV at Homerton Hospital in east London, said he has told three people that they have contracted the virus after they were denied access to PrEP from the service.
He said they gave patients information on how to access the drug privately, but said doing so is “very difficult” for some patients who do not have the funds.
The BBC reports that PrEP costs the NHS £11 per person per month, whereas the cost of medicine for a person who is HIV positive ranges from £100 to £500 per month.
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PrEP significantly reduces a person’s chances of contracting virus.
England is the only part of the UK where access to PrEP through the public system is limited. The drug is available to anyone who requires it in Scotland.
When taken daily, PrEP significantly reduces the chances of contracting HIV.
Last week, it was revealed that a hard Brexit could lead to a shortage of PrEP in the UK.
Consultant pharmacist James O’Loan of Doctor 4 U told the Daily Mirror that PrEP drug supplies could be reduced if the UK crashes out of the EU on October 31.
He said: “With Brexit looming… drugs manufacturers are reducing their product portfolios.
“There are currently three manufacturers of PrEP – and as pharmacists we understand that a couple of these are potentially looking to pull out of the market.
“If demand continues to rise – as it has been doing for some time – shortages are almost inevitable.”