HIV/AIDS groups in England had expected to begin offering the daily HIV prevention pill Truvada later this year, but that won’t happen any time soon. After an 18-month review process, England’s National Health Service (NHS) has decided that it will not allow Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to be widely available in the country, BuzzFeed reports.
The main reason sited by the NHS was that it “is not responsible for commissioning HIV prevention services,” though BuzzFeed says that the governing health group does fund other sexual health prevention medications, such as the birth control pill.
Instead of allowing the med to be prescribed to all people at risk for HIV, the NHS said it will provide funds for 500 people to receive Truvada in the next two years.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada as PrEP in 2012; other countries, including Canada, Israel and France, have approved the daily prevention pill.
Britain’s largest running HIV charity, The Terrence Higgins Trust, said it was in “shock and disbelief” at the “shameful” news.
In a released statement quoted by BuzzFeed, the National Aids Trust said: “Over 5,000 gay men will get HIV over the next two years—very many of whom would not have done so if PrEP had been delivered as proposed… We call on Ministers to intervene and reverse this deplorable decision— securing a process to provide PrEP on the basis of evidence and need.”