NAT comments on the Government's commitment to give free HIV treatment in England to all those who need it.
Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust), comments:
'NAT has been campaigning for HIV treatment to be free for all those who need it in England for many years - and we regard the Government's commitment on this to be a huge achievement.
'Free HIV treatment for all is a victory for public health and for the NHS. Ensuring people living with HIV have access to the vital treatment they need is a leap forward in tackling the spread of the virus in this country. HIV treatment has huge preventive benefits and can reduce onward transmission by making HIV positive people significantly less infectious.
'This rule change will also save valuable NHS resouces in the long term. A quarter of people with HIV in the UK are undiagnosed and this large number is largely responsible for the volume of onward transmissions. In addition, over half of people with HIV are diagnosed late - after the point at which treatment should have begun - and this hugely increases the changes of becoming seriously ill and possibly needing access to much more expensive emergency treatment and intensive care. Universal access to HIV treatment thereby reduces costs to the NHS in the future.
'This commitment also ends the long-standing inconsistency in the NHS charging regulations, where HIV was arbitrarily singled out as the only serious disease or STI for which treatment was chargeable.'
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Notes to the editor:
Claims of HIV heath tourism have been proven to be completely unfounded, as demonstrated in NAT's report The Myth of Health Tourism
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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.
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