In its first, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended the use of Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) to treat people at the highest risk of catching HIV.
The announcement comes along with a consultation on draft guideline by NICE on reducing sexually transmitted infections.
NICE’s recommendation is backed up by the government’s HIV Action Plan to hit zero new transmissions of HIV by 2030.
The pill prevents HIV by stopping the virus from crossing into the healthy cells and replicating.
According to the UK PROUD study, PrEP reduced the risk of HIV infection by 86 per cent for men who have sex with men.
However, people taking the pill must also get regular HIV testing and STI screening done every three months.
Dr Paul Chrisp, director of the centre for guidelines at NICE noted that number of HIV cases has fallen considerably and recommending “PrEP to those at the highest risk is another step forward in helping to reduce HIV transmission”.
“If you are a person in one of the highest risk groups, I would urge you to speak with your local sexual health clinic to find out if PrEP is an option for you.”
Only specialist sexual health services are authorised to prescribe PrEP on the NHS in England.
NICE also advised to raise awareness about the medicine among health professionals who work in primary care, community settings and gender identity clinics.
It also recommended increasing the frequency of STI testing through a range of options based on local need.
A consultation on the recommendations is open until January 31, 2022.