The NHS have launched their 45 day public consultation on a proposed clinical consultation commissioning policy on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV.
This consultation is necessary in order to make PrEP available to people who are at risk of becoming HIV positive. Multiple studies around the world have shown PrEP to be highly effective in reducing the risk of contracting HIV. The results of the PrOUD trial in England, released in 2015, prove that PrEP works and that concerns about it not working in a real world setting, were unfounded. Read more about the trial here: http://www.proud.mrc.ac.uk/
PrEP has been approved by the World Health Organisation and it’s already available for those deemed at risk of HIV in the United States, Canada, France and Israel. PrEP can reduce people’s chances of contracting HIV the virus if taken daily.
If you would like more information on both PrEP trials (PROUD and IPERGAY) visit Poz.com for a more detailed look (https://prodlb.poz.com/article/PrEP-CROI-26978-7841)
There are arguments for and against providing PrEP for free on the NHS. That it could encourage risky sexual behaviour but it’s not always about risky behaviour. You, and you alone are responsible for your own sexual health. If your sexual partner(s) dislike using condoms, you can stay protected by taking PrEP. This is about taking ownership of your sexual health. PrEP is another tool to sexual health which will reduce HIV nationally and help save the NHS vital money it needs for other services.
The following gives a breakdown and suggests the NHS could actually save money on HIV treatments if they were to adopt PrEP.
- PrEP cost per year: (Media figure) £10m -£20m. Assume higher figure of £20m per year.
- New HIV diagnoses in the UK per year: Approx 4000 people.
- Cost over average lifespan estimated at £365,000 for treatment. (Assume average lifespan of 36 years for ease of calculation as some people are diagnosed in their teens, some in the mid 60’s) making an assumed cost of treatment per person per year at approximately £10,000.
- New HIV diagnoses: Extra cost, year on year of £40m
- Assume PrEP rolled out on 1st January 2017 and 50% is effective (i.e. that it reduces new HIV diagnoses in the UK by half. Likely to be more effective than this but let’s play out a worst case scenario).
- In 2017, 2000 new cases of HIV are prevented saving £20m. This is a year on year saving. PrEP however in an unchanging cost. In 2018, 2000 new cases of HIV are prevented, saving £20m and the cost of treating the prevented 2017 cases in 2018 is also saved making a total of £40m saved this year.
- It’s easy to see how this goes, although likely to be an upper limit to savings year on year after a few years, it won’t keep going up indefinitely.
- PrEP does not merely pay for itself after one year but actively makes savings to the NHS budget in expensive HIV treatments, allowing other drugs to be funded.
- This calculation assumes worst case figures here, the actual savings are likely to be higher.
- In 2018 Gilead’s patent on Truvada (the PrEP treatment) may run out. If and when it does, further savings can be made.
Above breakdown via @THTorguk
We have been responding to the challenges of HIV for 30 years. HIV will not go away unless we invest in, and try out proven methods to reduce the risk of HIV infection. PrEP has been proven to work and we urge you, as someone who wants to see the end of HIV to respond to the consultation and get your voice heard. If we work together, we could eradicate HIV in our lifetimes.
The NHS consultation is open until Tuesday 23 September. Many people have felt powerless in the fight to make PrEP available on the NHS, and now you have the power to make it so.
Visit the follow link for further detailed information and to participate in the survey.