London – Delays in rolling out an HIV prevention pill in Britain are putting gay men's lives at risk, with thousands buying it online without medical supervision, HIV campaigners said on Wednesday.
Britain is lagging behind the United States and Kenya, where the highly-effective drug is more widely available, as health authorities only give the pills to gay and bisexual men taking part in a three-year clinical trial, which ends in 2020.
"This is a scandal," said Will Nutland, co-founder of PrEPster, which is lobbying for the once-daily pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) pill, also known by its drug brand name Truvada, to be offered in routine HIV prevention services.
"We have a technology that is cheap, accessible, is effective and is cost-effective, yet we're still being denied full roll-out of this drug," said Nutland, who is also a doctor.
"We know of people who have attempted to access PrEP and then have ended up being diagnosed with HIV three or six months later."