Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has called on the Health Minister to ensure people at risk of contracting HIV are able to access a drug which can prevent the disease.
The South Belfast MLA was speaking after the Assembly passed her amendment to a motion on people diagnosed with HIV. It called for the Minister to work with the NHS England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to develop ways for people here at risk to have access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication, which can prevent HIV via a daily pill.
“I’m delighted to have secured support from the Assembly and it is now over to the Minister to put in place the mechanisms to ensure PrEP is available in Northern Ireland,” said Ms Bradshaw.
“This will be of benefit to those who have contact with HIV positive people, such as individuals having sex in circumstances where condoms are not easily available or frequently used, men who are having sex with other men, partners in serodiscordant relationships, and other at-risk groups.
“I would add, however, I do not see PrEP as a replacement for condoms, as the effectiveness of this medication is not 100 per cent, and would not prevent the transmission of sexually-transmitted infections or crisis pregnancies, but would form part of a ‘belt and braces’ approach to addressing this serious sexual health matter.
“I look forward to working with the Minister to see the delivery of this life-saving drug to people in Northern Ireland.”