The report also says they are “failing in their duty to protect public health”.
PrEP Access In Europe, a report provided by the PrEP in Europe Initiative [PiEi], a coalition of leading HIV organisations that includes NAM, has called for European governments to make the HIV preventative drug PrEP available to those at imminent risk as a matter of urgency.
In a new report published this week, PiEi also call on governments to provide more information about PrEP and make it widely available to the public, so they can fully comprehend the advantages of the drug themselves.
The European Centre for Disease Control estimate that in 2016 at least 30,000 people will be infected with HIV in the European Union, and 140,000 in the whole of the European region. This works out at around 80 infections a day in the EU, with two-thirds of those among gay men.
PiEi also call on the European Commission to approve existing and forthcoming positive recommendations on generic versions of Truvada from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) without delay and a continuation of funding for co-ordinated programmes of HIV prevention research.
Europe is home to the fastest growing epidemic of HIV in the world and, according to PiEi, is lagging behind in terms of HIV prevention.
“PrEP has arrived in Europe,” the report concludes, “But in too many cases it is being taken without medical supervision and on an ad-hoc basis that could undermine its proven effectiveness.
“The official authorities are playing catch up, and failing in their duty to protect public health.”
After the FDA approved PrEP in the US in 2012, several countries around the world including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Kenya, France, Peru, South Africa and Thailand have begun processing the introduction of the drug for people at high risk of HIV.
A number of the European countries, in particular France, Norway, Sweden and the UK, have national agencies that are able to authorise new medications before or independently of EMA approval.
The Norwegian Medicine Agency is expected to approve Truvada, a fixed-dose combination of two antiretroviral drugs used for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, for use as PrEP in late summer 2016, while the Swedish Medical Products Agency is expected to announce a decision on PrEP in October.
Many of these new infections could be averted by the introduction of PrEP; yet to date the only European country in which PrEP is available from the national health system is France.
The report also suggests that those with enough money and access to a sympathetic physician are able to access Truvada by paying the cost price of around 500-850 euros/month for a 30-pill bottle.
Those without the capability to pay are accessing it from places where they know Truvada is readily available, which is not always the easiest task.
You can find out more on the report at aidsmap.com
Words Bryan Bernal