Today NAT (National AIDS Trust) will challenge in the High Court the legality of the NHS England decision to remove PrEP from its commissioning process.
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) involves HIV negative people taking an antiretroviral drug to avoid getting HIV. It has been shown to be extremely effective by multiple studies from around the world. It has also been shown to be cost-effective, and in the UK, where over 4,000 people are acquiring HIV a year, it is urgently needed.
In March, after 18 months of preparation, NHS England suddenly abandoned its work on PrEP, saying that: ‘local authorities are the responsible commissioner for HIV prevention services’ and that ‘NHS England is not responsible for commissioning HIV prevention services’.
NAT believes that PrEP should be commissioned by NHS England and felt it had no option but to challenge this decision through judicial review.
Deborah Gold, CEO at NAT said: “Local authorities do not have sole responsibility for HIV prevention in England. NHS England has a clear role in prevention. Our view, and the view of our legal advisors, is that there is nothing to prevent the NHS from commissioning PrEP should it wish to.
This has highlighted a huge issue with our health system. It is simply unacceptable that we are having to go to court to clarify who has responsibility for commissioning such an important innovation. We are very hopeful that the court will agree with the case we are making. The outcome will have significant implications for future funding of public health interventions in this country. Not to mention the thousands of people who need access to PrEP now.”
Notes to the editor:
NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expertise and practical resources. We champion the rights of people living with HIV and campaign for change.
Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.
www.lifewithHIV.org – a resource for HIV positive people
www.HIVaware.org.uk – what everyone should know about HIV
NAT will be live tweeting throughout the proceedings. Follow us @NAT_AIDS_Trust
NAT is represented in this case by the following legal team:
Adam Hundt, Solicitor, Deighton Pierce Glynn
Barristers: Karon Monoghan QC, Matrix Chambers and Zoë Leventhall, Landmark Chambers
What is PrEP?
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) involves HIV negative people taking an antiretroviral drug to avoid getting HIV.
Multiple studies around the world have shown PrEP to be highly effective in reducing the risk of contracting HIV. The results of the PROUD trial in England, released in 2015, prove that PrEP works and that concerns about it not working in a real world setting, were unfounded. Read more about the trial here: http://www.proud.mrc.ac.uk/
Most trials of PrEP and the US CDC Guidelines involve taking PrEP daily. A study in France, ANRS IPERGAY, has looked at the efficacy of PrEP when taken ‘on demand’, in other words not daily but only before and after sex. There was also significant preventive benefit shown in this trial.