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Liberal Democrats call for HIV prevention drug to be available on NHS

A year’s supply of PrEP costs £4,330 per person, the Lib Dems said.

An HIV prevention drug should be made available on the NHS, the Liberal Democrats have said.

The party is calling for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) to be accessible through the health service.

Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb said: “PrEP is a vital weapon in the fight against HIV, and it’s high time that it was made routinely available to those who are at risk of infection.

“The Liberal Democrats in Parliament have led calls for PrEP to be made available to all high-risk groups.”

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Liberal Democrats health spokesman Norman Lamb (Lauren Hurley/PA)

He went on: “We have seen repeated attempts to delay the funding of this treatment in a bid to avoid costs, but the Liberal Democrats’ ambitious rescue plan for the NHS and social care, including an additional penny on income tax, would allow this drug to be funded as a priority.

“We know that PrEP is highly effective in reducing transmission of the virus. Prevention is always better than treatment, so it makes absolutely no sense to delay roll-out of the drug any longer.”

The party said the move was needed because, in 2015, an estimated 101,200 people were living with HIV in the UK, and 594 people with HIV died.

In the same year there were 6,095 new HIV diagnoses. The Lib Dems said the move would save money as a lifetime of HIV treatment costs up to £360,000, while a year’s supply of PrEP costs £4,330 per person.

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From Belfast Telegraph