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Road Clear for the Introduction of PrEP in the Netherlands

by Redaktie in Health & Body , 26 May 2018

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

The road is clear for the introduction of the HIV prevention pill PrEP in the Netherlands. The Dutch Health Council has advised the government to provide PrEP to groups with a relatively high risk of contracting HIV, for instance men who have sex with men.

For some time now, Aidsfonds, COC, PrEPnu, the HIV Foundation, and the Dutch Association of HIV-treating physicians have been arguing for this. They have asked the Minister and the Dutch Lower House to implement the advice immediately.

“This advice is a break-through,” COC president Tanja Ineke stated in a reaction to the news. “With PrEP we have a unique opportunity to put a stop to the HIV epidemic. We will ask Minister Bruno Bruins and the Dutch Lower House to implement the advice immediately and not wait another day with the introduction of PrEP in the Netherlands."

Thanks to the Dutch Health Council's advice, a majority in Parliament for PrEP is within reach. The VVD promised to 'be the first to vote in favour’ with this positive advice from the Health Council. Last December, the VVD – as did the PVV, CDA, ChristenUnie, 50Plus, and the SGP – voted against a proposal that was submitted by GroenLinks and D66 to introduce PrEP. They wanted to wait for the Council's advice.

PrEP is medication that prevents people from contracting HIV. Approximately 800 people in the Netherlands a year are diagnosed with HIV. Research shows that this number can be significantly reduced if PrEP were made readily available. In San Francisco, for instance, the number of new HIV diagnoses has nearly halved. PrEP is used as an additional preventive measure against HIV, in addition to other preventative tools, such as condoms and early testing. PrEP is already used in France, Norway, Scotland, Belgium, and Portugal.

In the advice published early April, the Health Council, which advises the government on reimbursing medicines, underlines the importance of the introduction of PrEP. According to the Council, PrEP is effective and safe, and is expected to lead to fewer HIV infections in the Netherlands, as well as possible cost savings. The costs of providing PrEP are lower than providing life-long HIV care to people who have contracted the disease.

The Health Council also points to Dutch research showing that the use of PrEP does not lead to an increase in other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Also, PrEP resistance is rarely reported.



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