PrEP in Ireland-News & Updates
The situation with PrEP in Ireland is on the verge of some significant developments. We thought it would be handy to create a new page here where we can share the latest news as it comes out. We’ll do our best to keep the main pages up-to-date, but this will be the place to check for the most current information.
Right now HIQA—the Health Information and Quality Authority—is wrapping up the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) for a national PrEP programme that they started working on last year. A draft version of the HTA report was released in April for a public consultation period (now concluded). Although there will be some changes, the final report will not be hugely different to the draft version.
The report includes a lot of fairly technical stuff, but the most significant information is the following:
• PrEP is safe and highly effective at preventing HIV (as we already knew!)
• A national PrEP programme would not only be cost-effective, it would actually be cost-saving for Ireland (that is, in the long-term, the money saved by preventing people from contracting HIV would be greater than the cost of providing PrEP).
• PrEP medication will be provided for free to users
• PrEP support services will be provided free though the public sexual health services—however, this will require “a significant investment” to “ensure a safe, sustainable, and holistic service.”
The final version of the report is expected to be approved by the HIQA board this week. The final report will be released to the public and sent to the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, within a week or so.
The HTA contains recommendations, but any final decisions will be made by the Minister for Health after he receives the report. This might happen as soon as the report is released, or there may be some additional time before an announcement happens. The Minister for Health and the Taoiseach have both publicly pledged to introduce a national PrEP programme by the end of this year, however the exactly time line for this is not yet known.
We will have more information about the Government’s plans for a PrEP programme for Ireland as soon as it becomes available.