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12 April 2017, 03:23 | Violet Powell
Scotland Has Made History With Bold Decision On HIV Drug PrEP - But How Long Until The Rest Of The UK Catches Up?
Professor Noel Gill, head of Public Health England's HIV and STI department, said: "All the detailed work underpinning the clinical trial of PrEP is well under way and we expect it will commence by the summer 2017".
"This makes Scotland the first country in the United Kingdom to routinely commission PrEP on the NHS", said Robert McKay, National Director of the Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland.
"By delivering this treatment on the NHS to those most at risk - and combining it with other vital tools in our HIV prevention armoury, such as condom use, regular testing, and early diagnosis and treatment - this could mark the beginning of the end for HIV transmission in Scotland".
Deborah Gold, Chief Executive at Nationall AIDS Trust (NAT), said: "NAT is delighted at the announcement that PrEP will be made available throughout Scotland within a matter of weeks".
"The speed and decisiveness of the Scottish process contrasts starkly with delays in the other three United Kingdom nations".
They estimate that up to 1,900 people north of the border could benefit from the drug, which has the brand name Truvada and costs about £450 a month. Taken once a day it can reduce the risk of HIV infection by 86%. "As part of my work with the cross-party group on sexual health and blood borne viruses I have heard first-hand the difference this could make, and I have today visited the Waverley Care residential care and support service to speak to people who live with HIV".
Gordon Garioch, 53, from Aberdeen, is now taking a generic version of the drug which he buys online.
I'm pleased for myself, selfishly, that I don't have to worry that my funding would be pulled in due course and for other ladies that have been diagnosed with metastatic HER2-positive disease or who are going to be diagnosed in the future.
"PrEP can play a role in addressing this, helping to rebuild confidence and self-esteem, and allowing men to lead healthier, happier lives". I have always been cautious, but some of my friends have been cautious and got HIV.
"It takes away some of that stress which can impact heavily on your physical and mental health".
The Scottish Medicines Consortium said PrEP would be free on the NHS to "high risk" people, for example if someone has a partner with HIV or men who have sex with men with high-risk sexual behaviour. "Dr Brian Montgomery's recent review made some positive recommendations on how the SMC could improve its decision-making - it's important that these changes are made a reality for patients as soon as possible", he said.
They must now heed the expert advice from the Scottish Medicines Consortium and make PrEP available to their patients who are identified as at risk of HIV, as a matter of urgency. I applaud all the campaigners who have fought so hard for this for years.
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