On 28th April 2017, the Welsh government has announced that the drug regime that prevents people from contracting HIV will be made available in Wales to those who would benefit from the preventative treatment.
The Health Secretary of wales, Vaughan Gething AM made the announcement following the decision on Truvada® by the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group. The study will run for at least three years and will begin in this summer. It also follows a similar decision by National Health Service (NHS) England in December, who will also be starting PrEP trials in summer.
The Pre-exposure-prophylaxis (PrEP) is a course of HIV drugs taken by HIV negative people that effectively stop HIV infection. The treatment includes people at very high risk of HIV taking medicines everyday to lesser their chances of infection. The use of PrEP has been debated due to it being effective for preventing HIV if used as suggested, but its effectiveness reduces when patients do not take it consistently.
Vaughan Gething said that there is no doubt that Truvada decreases rates of HIV infection when taken properly and supported by wider, preventative sexual health services can support to lessen overall HIV transmission and infection rates.
He further added that the World Health Organisation (WHO) provided advice about the study. The study will mean that all those for whom the PrEP drug is clinically suitable can access to it. The study will support to discover how best to offer the preventative care to decrease risks of HIV transmission in Wales and answer some of the questions raised by the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group around incidence rates.
The National Director for Terrence Higgins Trust in Wales, Sarah Fuhrmann said that they are encouraged and thankful that the Welsh government have listened to people affected by HIV, and will make PrEP available to people who need it in Wales, through a three year trial.
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