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Thursday 29 June 2017

Rainbow Labour reiterates Little's PrEP promise

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By Daily News staff - 15th February 2017

Rainbow Labour has reiterated the party leader's commitment to funding the PrEP HIV prevention treatment should it win the forthcoming general election.

Andrew Little promises the Big Gay Out crowd that a Labour-led government will ensure PrEP and early treatment are funded

Speaking at the Big Gay Out on Sunday Andrew Little said that a Labour-led government would also fund access to HIV anti-retroviral drugs immediately on diagnosis.

Currently access to Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a medical treatment regime that protects an HIV-negative person from contracting the virus and is increasingly seen as a viable alternative to condom use for some people, is not funded by the public health system. And anti-retroviral drugs are currently only available to people with HIV whose health status has shown signs of deterioration, despite most countries now funding the meds for immediate availability to everyone upon diagnosis. Both drug regimes have personal health benefits and can contribute to the NZ AIDS Foundation's goal of 'Ending HIV' transmission in this country.

Little said on Sunday that Labour is right behind the 'Ending HIV' strategy.

“If a drug can tackle any serious illness with a 92% success rate, you’d expect the government to fund it,” says Rainbow Labour co-chair Ian Pattison.

“Taken daily, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has been proven to reduce an HIV negative user’s risk of contracting the virus by over 90%. The ripple effect this could have for our nation cannot be overlooked. That is why I am proud that Labour, as part of our roll-back of National’s $1.7 billion cuts to the health budget, is the first political party to promise the funding of PrEP in this country.”

Pattison says by funding access to early treatment for those diagnosed with HIV Labour aims to remove the stresses in rainbow health created by a cutback in the number of STD-focussed health professionals in Auckland and skyrocketing rates of HIV diagnoses.

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