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European Parliament calls for PrEP to be distributed across Europe

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Members of the European Parliament have called for PrEP to be made available across Europe.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, known as PrEP, is an anti-retroviral drug taken by HIV-negative people which, if used consistently, can help to reduce the risk of contracting the virus by more that 90%.

On Wednesday 5 July, a resolution was passed which would see the HIV-preventative drug made widely available across Europe and also combat stigma by promoting education about the disease.

The resolution noted that PrEP “all but eliminated the risk of transmission where viral loads are reduced to undetectable levels”.

Seb Dance, Labour MEP for London who voted for the resolution, said: “Improving access to this treatment across the EU will have a transformative effect on people’s lives.

“It is vital that we continue to invest in research to achieve effective cures for HIV, but also that we make sure that a treatment that has proven to be an incredibly successful means of prevention is accessible and affordable across the EU.”

Related: Welsh government announces plans to trial HIV prevention drug PrEP on the NHS

Earlier this year, a man taking part in a PrEP trial in Melbourne tested positive for HIV, making him the first patient in Australia and the fourth around the world to acquire HIV while taking the drug.

The Victorian AIDS Council said the man may have failed to regularly take his prescribed dose, or could have come into contact with a person living with a strain of the virus that’s resistant to PrEP.

“There have been no reported occurrences of widespread PrEP failure here or around the world,” they reassured.

“The vast majority of people taking PrEP in this country and around the world continue to be protected by this powerful HIV prevention tool.”

Last month, the World Health Organisation added PrEp to its list of ‘essential medicines’, after Scotland announced they would be the first country to make the “life-changing” treatment available on the NHS.

“For every person who would have become HIV positive without PrEP, NHS Scotland will save £360,000 in lifetime treatment costs,” said Robert McKay, the National Director for Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland.

Related: These people read out heartbreaking messages sent to HIV-positive men on Grindr

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