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From: The Socialist issue 912, 10 August 2016: Stand firm for socialism

Search site for keywords: HIV - NHS - Gay - Sex - Homophobia - Drugs - LGBT

Fight to defend HIV drug victory

Anti-HIV 'PrEP' drugs could prevent thousands of new cases, photo by Jeffrey Beall (Creative Commons)

Anti-HIV 'PrEP' drugs could prevent thousands of new cases, photo by Jeffrey Beall (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Michael Johnson, Socialist Party LGBT group

The recent High Court ruling that the NHS should fund anti-HIV 'pre-exposure prophylaxis' (PrEP) drugs (pictured) has been widely celebrated. However, NHS bosses have vowed to appeal.

PrEP is taken prior to sex by people who do not have HIV. An NHS study has shown it can reduce risk of HIV transfer by 86%. Diagnoses of HIV are increasing. Over 100,000 currently live with it in the UK. Access to this medication could have a hugely positive impact.

NHS bosses have claimed that funding PrEP would make it unable to fund treatments for other vulnerable groups, such as cataract surgery for older people. This is a cynical attempt to turn patients against each other over who is more 'deserving' of health care.

The NHS is struggling for funding. This is not a result of patients' needs, but of constant government attacks on funding, and private companies leaching money.

Newspapers such as the Daily Mail have proclaimed PrEP a "lifestyle drug" to let gay men be promiscuous. The National Union of Journalists and others have explained that, in fact, PrEP is a vital medication for anyone at risk from HIV, of any sexual orientation and activity level.

The bigoted and inaccurate views that HIV is a 'gay disease', and that gay diseases should have lower priority, killed hundreds of thousands before the end of the 1980s. We cannot allow that again.

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