British HIV Association (BHIVA) statement on Wales' failure to approve Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Although a final decision is yet to be announced, the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) has indicated that Wales will not join Scotland in recommending the provision of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) by the NHS for the prevention of HIV.

While the safety and clinical effectiveness of PrEP in preventing new HIV infections is well established, AWMSG has recommended that PrEP should not be used within NHS Wales to reduce the risk of HIV infection in high risk groups, citing doubts over cost-effectiveness.

BHIVA Chair, Professor Chloe Orkin, said: "A negative decision would be a harsh blow for those of us throughout the UK at the front line of HIV prevention and care, particularly at a time when the number of new HIV infections in Wales appears to be on the rise. However it is a far harsher blow to those who will contract HIV in Wales as a result.

"Numerous studies have shown PrEP to be clinically effective and cost-effective in reducing HIV infections among at-risk groups. The dramatic reduction in HIV infections observed recently by several London clinics show clearly that HIV prevention works, with PrEP a vital part of HIV prevention efforts.

"Such a decision would ignore the potentially devastating health impact of HIV infection on individuals and the cost to wider society. Wales has highest rate in the UK of late HIV diagnoses, with around half of new diagnoses classed as late diagnoses. We believe that PrEP would be a game-changer if made available to at risk groups on the NHS."


Ends

 

Notes to editors:
There were approximately 150 diagnoses a year in Wales between 2006 and 2015, but the number of diagnoses rose to 168 in 2016.

Further information on the role of the Independent HIV Expert Group established by Public Health Wales can be found here:
http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/888/news/44336

 

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Jon Cope
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