Sexual health experts express deep disappointment at recommendation to reject PrEP for people in Wales
28th April 2017
The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) express deep disappointment at the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group’s (AWMSG) initial recommendation to refuse to fund the provision of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) by the NHS in Wales. We hope that the Welsh Government will reconsider this recommendation and we await further developments on this.
PrEP is a pill for people who are HIV negative and can be taken daily or before sex to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV by 86% and has been hailed as a game-changer.
The initial recommendation was made despite a review commissioned by the Welsh Government recently finding that PrEP is “highly effective clinically” when used in the right client groups and in the right dose with appropriate monitoring. Earlier this month the Scottish Medical Consortium (SMC) recommended the use of PrEP for high-risk individuals in the NHS in Scotland.
Commenting on the recommendation, Dr Elizabeth Carlin, President of BASHH said:
The initial recommendation from the AWMSG not to recommend PrEP for use within the NHS in Wales is a bitter blow for all those who would benefit from the treatment, which dramatically reduces the risk of acquiring HIV infection.
New HIV diagnoses in Wales reached a 15 year high according to data published in 2016, and 168 people were diagnosed with HIV in 2015, a number which is almost entirely preventable.
PrEP is one of the best evidence-based tools we have to help reverse this trend and provides a real chance of halting the HIV epidemic for the people of Wales and the UK. The treatment has been shown to be cost-effective for those at the highest risk and we urge the Welsh Government to consider all the evidence and make the final decision one that provides PrEP on the NHS in Wales.