Wales politics

HIV-prevention drug 'should be offered' in Wales

HIV treatment pills

A drug which helps prevent the transmission of HIV should be offered on the Welsh NHS following a court ruling clearing the way in England, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have said.

The High Court ruled NHS England can prescribe Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) to those at high risk.

NHS England had said it was up to councils to do so as they are in charge of preventative health.

The Welsh Government said it would review the evidence available.

Anti-retroviral and post-exposure HIV drugs are already readily available, but a spokesman said the Welsh Government would look at developing a position on the use of PrEP as a preventative.

Cadan ap Tomos, the Welsh Lib Dem equalities spokesman, said: "The Welsh NHS needs to take the initiative and introduce PrEP as a matter of urgency.

'Not a magic bullet'

"Clinical trials and use by health services abroad has shown a significant reduction in HIV contraction rates for those taking PrEP.

"The Welsh Health Secretary [Vaughan Gething] now needs to show leadership and introduce this drug for Welsh patients.

"Of course, PrEP is not a magic bullet. Wales urgently needs to improve its testing services, as well as its sex and relationships education, but any opportunity to help prevent the spread of HIV must be grasped."

The ruling in England by Mr Justice Green said health bosses had "erred" in arguing it was not their responsibility.

NHS England has already announced it will appeal the ruling - and even if that goes against health bosses it is not a given that Prep will be considered effective enough to warrant NHS funding.

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