Health boards start hiv prevention programme with five year PrEP trial

Photo: Jeffrey Beall via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Jeffrey Beall via Wikimedia Commons

Dutch regional health boards will begin distributing the hiv prevention drug PrEP to men at risk from developing the disease from today, broadcaster NOS said.

The health boards are being given a subsidy of €22m over a five year period, which, the government says, is enough to fund 6,500 courses of treatment. The public health institute RIVM, however, says it expects some 8,500 men to apply to be included in the programme.

‘We are going to have to make selections,’ Rinske van der Bij, of the special team set up to coordinate the programme, told the broadcaster. ‘We could, for example, focus on gay men under the age of 25 because they often change sexual partners, but refugees are also at risk. We cannot serve everyone.’

Men who qualify for the programme will pay €7.50 for a month’s supply of pills and will also take regular tests for sexually transmitted diseases, NOS said.

People with a higher risk of developing hiv can also get a prescription from their family doctor, although not all doctors are willing to supply it.  Last year, some 3,000 people were prescribed PrEP by their own doctor, aids charity AidsFonds said.

Despite encouraging the use of condoms, regular tests and early treatment, there are some 800 new infections of hiv a year in the Netherlands.

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