HIV charities welcome free treatment for everyone living in Scotland.
The same rules were brought into effect in England in Oct 2012. It means HIV will be exempt from NHS charging rules on the same basis as TB and other infectious diseases. HIV testing and all other sexual health services are already exempt.
Yusef Azad, Director of Policy and Campaigns at NAT, says:
“This change to NHS rules will ensure that destitute asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants are able to get the essential healthcare they need while living in Scotland. It is also a step to safeguard the public health of communities, as HIV treatment has been shown, when successful, to make it practically impossible for someone to pass HIV on to others."
George Valiotis, Chief Executive of HIV Scotland, says:
“The guarantee of HIV treatment for everyone who needs it will encourage at-risk communities to test. Over 40% of people newly diagnosed with in Scotland are diagnosed late – meaning they have been living with HIV for at least four years.3 Breaking down all remaining barriers to HIV care for migrant groups is vital – these new rules will save lives and benefit public health.”
Notes to the editor:
1. The NHS charging rules have been changed through The National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, which come into effect on 1 May http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2014/70/made. Equivalent rules were introduced in England in October 2012.
2. The HTPN 052 study found a 96% reduction in sexual transmission of HIV where the HIV positive partner was on treatment with an undetectable viral load. http://www.hptn.org/research_studies/hptn052.asp
3. 42% of people diagnosed with HIV in Scotland in 2012 were diagnosed ‘late’ (with a CD4 count of 350 or below) or ‘very late’ (CD4 count of 200 or below). Source: Health Protection Scotland. ‘World AIDS Day – HIV in Scotland’, 27 November 2013. http://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/ewr/article.aspx