North-West Lib Dems will use Devolved Powers for PrEP
At its recent regional conference, North West Lib Dems passed policy in support of the provision of PrEP both locally and nationally.
The conference sets policy for the Lib Dems in the North West, including Greater Manchester and Merseyside which have or soon will have devolved powers over health and social care. LGBT+ Lib Dems vice-chair Dave Page, who is from the North-West and proposed the motion, said "The Liberal Democrats are leading the fight for evidence-based access to PrEP at every level where there is political influence over health and social care.
"If we are to reach zero new HIV infections in the UK, we must add PrEP to condoms, education and all the other means at our disposal. Breaking down the barrier between health and social care means we can provide the best prevention, saving money and improving peoples' lives."
The motion, which was drafted by Liverpool Riverside candidate Paul Childs, reads:
- There are currently over 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK alone. Last year Public Health England announced there were 6,151 new HIV diagnoses in 2014,3,360 of whom were men who have sex with men, the highest number on record. Of the 85,489 who are accessing care in the UK 67% were men and 33% women. Out of the total number 48% had acquired HIV through heterosexual sex, of whomBlack Africans comprise 60%. 45% acquired the virus through men having sex with men.
- PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is the use of a prescription Anti HIV drug (known as Truvada) that prevent an individual from contracting HIV. Increased use of PrEP has the potential to reduce infection rates thus not only saving lives but also money.
- Despite its proven efficacy and potential for long term financial health care savings, the NHS has yet to approve its use. It is currently only available in the UK through a private prescription that costs approximately £400 for a month's supply.
- An increasing number of people are importing generic forms of the PrEP medication Truvada produced and sold by Gilead Sciences Inc. through websites for approximately 85% less than the patented version.
- Norman Lamb MP and Eluned Parrott AM's recent calls for PrEP to be made available on the NHS immediately.
- The October 2014 interim analysis of the PROUD study data showing that PrEP is 86% effective against HIV for gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) at high risk of infection.
- The Same levels of protection shown by the IPERGAY, a French and Canadian Study into PrEP.
- The study conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Francisco showed no new infections.
- The decision of the Centre for Disease Control to approve Truvada as PrEP in 2014.
- In 2014 the World Health Organisation issued guidelines strongly recommending men who have sex with men consider taking antiretroviral medicines as an additional method of preventing HIV infection.
- Greater Manchester as part of the devolution process gains control of its health budget from May 2016, and it is likely Merseyside will be given similar powers.
Conference reaffirms the Liberal Democrat commitment to:
- champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals.
- fight disease wherever it may occur.
Conference calls for:
- Liberal Democrats in Parliament to continue their work for NHS adoption of PrEP for those people at high risk of HIV Infection, BME communities and women.
- The Government to use all available methods to highlight PrEP to at risk groups, and to fast track PrEP availability on the NHS for high risk groups.
- Government ministers to consider the use of generic Truvada to reduce costs to the NHS.