news

NHS England denies accusations of homophobia following PrEP verdict

2016-08-09
NHS England says it "strongly denies" accusations of homophobia made against the government body in the wake of last week's High Court ruling that found it was responsible for providing PrEP to at risk groups, according to BuzzFeed. The organisation, which will appeal the court ruling, issued a response to the verdict, in which it described PrEP as "a measure to prevent HIV transmission, particularly for men who have high-risk condomless sex with multiple male partners". The statement also implied that the provision of PrEP would put other treatments at risk of being denied funding, including medication for children with cystic fibrosis. A number of HIV charities condemned NHS England's decision to appeal - and Ian Green, CEO of the Terrence Higgins Trust, wrote to the organisations CEO to express "shock and concern over the tone, language and content" of the statement. https://twitter.com/THTorguk/status/761209501626302464 "The efficacy of PrEP is not related to gender, sexual orientation, condom use or number of sexual partners", Green wrote, adding that "singling out gay men who do not use condoms is intentionally provocative, homophobic, offensive and innacurate". The THT's CEO described NHS's England warning that other medication may be under threat because of PrEP as "disgraceful and irresponsible", claiming that the decision to frame the argument in this was was made to "pit one patient group against another". He then went on to attribute divisive and homophobic media coverage about PrEP - including a widely condemned Daily Mail article which described PrEP as a lifestyle drug - to NHS England's statement.   Media coverage about the PrEP verdict has been divisive.  
According to BuzzFeed, a spokesman for NHS England said the organisation "strongly denies claims [of homophobia and inaccuracy] and will be responding to the letter as soon as possible".
The National AIDS Trust condemned NHS England's decision to appeal the verdict, saying "the appeal will further delay clarity in this area, and mean that any potential commissioning of PrEP will not take place for months", while Gay Men Fighting AIDS CEO Matthew Hodson said there was "no time for hesitation" with regards to commissioning the drug.
If you or someone you know is worried about HIV, contact the Terrence Higgins Trust.
More stories: