HIV/AIDS groups in England can celebrate a victory in the ongoing battle over access to Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the daily pill to prevent contracting HIV. The Court of Appeal clarified that England’s National Health Service (NHS) has the ability to provide the drug. However, it also ruled that the NHS doesn’t have the obligation to do so.
As BBC News reports, the court ruling comes after a long-standing battle between AIDS advocacy groups and the NHS, which had claimed it didn’t have to fund PrEP because preventive health did not fall within its purview.
The court disagreed with the NHS and ruled that PrEP did fall under the task of the NHS.
According to BBC News, an estimated 14,000 people would be eligible for PrEP in England.
So what’s next?
NHS England has said it will not appeal further, The Guardian reports, meaning that PrEP will be added to the list of specialized treatments it will consider funding. However, the NHS added that the price of Truvada as PrEP is excessive and that it must weigh the value of the drug against other treatments for other conditions.
“It is time for NHS England to stop delaying and finally determine whether to commission this treatment, which could greatly reduce the risk of HIV infection,” Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community well-being board, told BBC News.
To find out about the previous PrEP battle in England, read “England Might Make PrEP Available After All” and “Once Again, England Refuses to Make PrEP Widely Available.”
For more POZ coverage about PrEP in general, click here.