MEPs have demanded improved access to innovative drugs for HIV, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP.)
PrEP is a daily antiretroviral drug people use to protect themselves from HIV infection.
The European Parliament passed the resolution on 5 July.
They also resolved to combat the stigma attached to the disease by promoting education and prevention.
The politicians noted the drug ‘all but eliminates the risk of transmission where viral loads are reduced to undetectable levels’. And they argued there is strong evidence that PrEP is a means of preventing HIV infection.
The iPrEx study found the drug can reduce your chance of getting HIV by 92%-99% if you take it daily.
The move was part of an EU response to HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis C.
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.’
PrEP around the world
In June 2017 the NHS England announced the PrEP drug, Truvada, will be available to those at high risk of the infection. This access is part of a major PrEP trial due to start this summer.
It came after a lengthy trial with the NHS, who had rolled back the use of the drug. When it began in 2016 NHS England said ‘it is not responsible for commissioning HIV prevention services.’
The High Court has now ruled that NHS England could provide PrEP, leading to the NHS committing to a trial to assess how best rollout of PrEP could work.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) has approved a generic form of PrEP.
Brazil has also recently made the drug available for patients at high risk of the infection.
The World Health Organization has added PrEP to its list of essential medicines.