Foreign nationals are about to begin getting treatment for HIV through the NHS in the UK, people who would usually not be covered under NHS. This, campaigners say, is a step in the right direction to reduce the risk of HIV transmission for all British residents.
Estimates say up to 25,000 people are currently undiagnosed and living with HIV in Britain and many were born abroad (the group includes failed asylum seekers, students, and tourists). However, if these people are HIV+ they could potentially spread the disease to UK citizens.
The proposed bill extends free treatment to people who have been living in Britain for 6 or more months. As we learned in class, treating people with HIV can drop the blood virus titers low enough that they are a lot less likely to pass on the infection to others.
According to the public health minister Anne Milton, “This measure will protect the public and brings HIV treatment in to line with all other infectious diseases. Treating people with HIV means they are very unlikely to pass the infection on to others.”
There is also a financial argument for the NHS to treat all HIV+ people. That is that it is a lot cheaper to treat HIV early than to treat someone who comes into the hospital with a very serious and complex condition.
From what we’ve learned in class, I would say, on the part of the NHS, this is a very forward thinking bill that in the long run will help the population of th uK stay healthier!
The original article can be found on the BBC at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17187179