Labour promises to fund HIV PrEP pill

Truvada pre-exposure prophylaxis prep drug HIV medication (Getty)
It's designed to be taken daily by people who are HIV-negative (Getty / file)

Labour has promised to fund a medication that can reduce users' risk of contracting HIV by more than 90 percent.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, more commonly known as PrEP, was cleared by Medsafe for New Zealand use last month.

It's designed to be taken daily by people who are HIV-negative.

"Studies have shown that if it is taken every day as prescribed, it reduces the risk of getting HIV by at least 92 percent," the New Zealand AIDS Foundation says.

Labour also plans to fund access for early treatment for those diagnosed with HIV, leader Andrew Little told Newshub, as part of a commitment to the NZ AIDS Foundation's goal of eliminating new HIV infections by 2025.

"The number of positions of dedicated health professionals dealing with sexually transmitted diseases, particularly HIV, has been cut quite significantly at a time when the number of cases of HIV diagnoses is increasing," Mr Little says.

"Spending this money now is actually saving us further down the track. That's why we do it."

Mr Little says funding PrEP is about creating an environment where people can get the help and treatment they need.

"So that for the benefit of the whole community, we can reduce the number of HIV cases and in the end, end HIV."

NZ AIDS Foundation executive director Jason Myers told Newshub there are plenty of tools available to end HIV transmission by 2025 - they just need to be made available.

"PrEP is one of these tools and funding PrEP access for those at highest risk of HIV should be a priority for whoever is in Government," he says.

It's the first pledge from a major party to fund the drug.

Newshub.

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