Labour calls for anti-HIV drug funding

  • 16/07/2017

Labour's health spokesman is struggling to work out why the Government is taking little action against preventing HIV contraction.

The pre-exposure prophylaxis drug, or PrEP, is available in Australia and the UK - and studies show it can reduce the risk of contracting the disease by up to 99 percent.

David Clark says it's in our interests to follow suit both socially and economically.

"It brings a cost into the health system, and it has a huge individual cost for those people who end up contracting HIV," he told Newshub.

"We need to get onto funding the drugs. We need to make sure that health care is properly funded, and I think most New Zealanders would agree that was the priority, rather than tax cuts for the wealthiest people."

In 2016 New Zealand had the highest rate of new HIV infections since record-keeping began more than 30 years ago.

The AIDS Foundation says if we followed Australia's example, we could eliminate HIV transmissions here within 10 years.

"We've set the goal of 2025," Jason Myers, executive director of the AIDS Foundation, told The Nation.