The HIV-preventing drug PrEP could soon be available on the NHS, under the trade name of Truvada.
PrEP can significantly reduces the chances of people being infected with the deadly HIV virus when taken on a daily basis.
In an attempt to address the spread of AIDS in the United Kingdom, a £50 million scheme will see the new PrEP drug available to men via the NHS.
The initiative comes in the context of new research which indicates that consuming the drug could reduce the chance of new HIV infections by as much as 50 per cent.
Already the scheme has been praised by proponents of the PrEP drug, who suggest that it will be a game changer for the treatment of HIV.
New research indicates that PrEP will prevent thousands of men from contracting HIV over the next few years.
Initially, PrEP was considered somewhat controversial, but has recently become more widely accepted, and is now available in numerous jurisdictions overseas.
Although there were initial fears that PrEP could lead to homosexuals in particular taking more sexual risks, trials have indicated a superb success rate for the new medicine.
It has been demonstrated that PrEP can cut the risk of contracting HIV by around 90 per cent.
Research outlining a model of the usage of the drug has already been published in the Lancet.
And it has been calculated by the authoritative journal that infection rates of HIV could plummet by as much as 59 per cent in gay and bisexual men as a result of the PrEP NHS availability.
This was based on a projection of all gay men in the UK being offered the drug. In theory, this could lead to preventing 10,000 new diagnoses by 2020.
Narat Punyacharoensin, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and the lead author of the study, commented on the issue.
“Current prevention efforts in the UK that focus on correct and consistent condom use and regular HIV testing have been falling short. Our results show that pre-exposure prophylaxis offers a major opportunity to curb new infections and could help reverse the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men in the UK.”
The health authorities have been similarly positive about the potential of this new treatment.
A spokesman for NHS England commented: “NHS England is working with local authorities and others across the NHS to consider the clinical and cost effectiveness of providing pre-exposure prophylaxis to at-risk groups.”
A new study attempts to address concerns about the side-effects of HIV-preventing PrEP drugs – finding the drugs are as safe as Aspirin.
More people than ever are living with HIV in the UK and each year new infections occur.
Over 103,000 people are living with HIV in the UK, with 17 per cent of sufferers currently undiagnosed.