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Nurses urged to lobby NHS England over drug that can prevent HIV transmission

Nurses should lobby NHS England to fund a drug that can prevent HIV transmission, according to a leading sexual health nurse.
Jason_Warriner

Nurses should lobby NHS England to fund a drug that can prevent HIV transmission, according to a leading sexual health nurse.

Sussex Beacon clinical services director Jason Warriner. Picture: Charles Milligan

NHS England announced last week that it would appeal against a High Court ruling that it has the power to commission Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The body argued that providing the drug, which it said costs up to 20million a year, should be funded by councils because it is preventative treatment.

But Jason Warriner, clinical services director at The Sussex Beacon, said failing to fund the drug, which is used to stop HIV from becoming established in the event of transmission, is short sighted.

We know there are intense pressures on health funding, but if you stop HIV infections spreading you will save money in the long term, he said.

Access to treatment

People

Nurses should lobby NHS England to fund a drug that can prevent HIV transmission, according to a leading sexual health nurse.

Jason_Warriner
Sussex Beacon clinical services director Jason Warriner. Picture: Charles Milligan

NHS England announced last week that it would appeal against a High Court ruling that it has the power to commission Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The body argued that providing the drug, which it said costs up to £20million a year, should be funded by councils because it is preventative treatment.

But Jason Warriner, clinical services director at The Sussex Beacon, said failing to fund the drug, which is used to stop HIV from becoming established in the event of transmission, is short sighted.

‘We know there are intense pressures on health funding, but if you stop HIV infections spreading you will save money in the long term,’ he said.

Access to treatment

‘People won’t need to access treatments that we estimate costs around £500,000 per patient over a lifetime .’

He continued: ‘All nurses in sexual health must monitor this appeal closely, and be prepared to lobby and campaign again to ensure this ruling is upheld.’

Trial results published in February 2015 suggest that, if the drug were delivered in sexual health clinics in England, it could reduce rates of HIV infection among men who have sex with men by almost 90%.

Michael Brady, medical director at the HIV/Aids charity Terrence Higgins Trust, welcomed the legal decision and described drugs such as Truvada as ‘a game-changer’.

‘We expect it to significantly increase the momentum in our fight against the virus,’ he said.

NHS England said that the High Court’s decision could see a delay in the commission of other provisions, including hearing implants for children, prosthetics for lower limb loss and a drug for treating young children with cystic fibrosis. It will fund PrEP until the appeal.

Further information:
Centre for Disease Control guidance on PrEP
National AIDS Trust response
Local Government Association response

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