A planned roll-out of the HIV
prevention drug PrEP on the National Health Service (NHS) in England
has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The UK's publicly-funded healthcare
system was expected to make the drug available in England starting in
PrEP, which stands for pre-exposure
prophylaxis, effectively blocks the transmission of HIV in more than
99 percent of cases when administered properly.
The drug is currently available on the
NHS in Scotland and on the NHS in England through limited-capacity
Speaking with iNews, Debbie Laycock
from Terrence Higgins, an HIV advocacy organization, said that her
group would continue to press the government to begin distribution of
“The impact of COVID has been even
greater than we knew then but we will hold the government to account
on its commitments because PrEP is such an important HIV prevention
tool,” Laycock said.
"We will continue to work to
ensure that roll-out happens as a matter of urgency and push for a
firm timeline from the government on when uncapped access to PrEP
will be available across England.”
"No one can be left behind when it
comes to HIV prevention as progress that isn’t felt by everyone
isn’t true progress,” she added.
Gilead Sciences, the manufacturer, has
two PrEP drugs, Truvada and Descovy, the latter of which was approved for use in
the United States last year.