Maggie De Block reveals government plans to reimburse “morning-after pill for homosexuals”

Friday, 19 May 2017 13:49
Maggie De Block’s policy to reimburse the cost of the antiretroviral, Truvada, which protects against HIV, is meeting with approval from all interested parties. Maggie De Block’s policy to reimburse the cost of the antiretroviral, Truvada, which protects against HIV, is meeting with approval from all interested parties. © Belga
From June 1st, the government will reimburse the cost of the antiretroviral, Truvada, to individuals not infected by HIV.
The Minister for Public Health, Maggie De Block (Open Vld), has decided this policy. With this in mind, she has anticipated a budget of one million euros for 2017.

She explains, “This will allow for the avoidance of further infection.” The overarching LGBT association çavaria applauds the measure. This is stated today (Friday) in Het Laatste Nieuws.

Currently only those people infected have the right to be reimbursed the cost of the pill. In the future, those exposed to an increased risk of infection will be able to obtain reinbursement of this precautionary antiretroviral.

The main “at-risk” group are homosexual men. It emerges from a study that the risk of HIV infection for a homosexual is statistically 1 in 20, whilst it is 1 in 5,000 amongst heterosexuals.

Ingesting one Truvada tablet each day allows you to avoid such an infection.

As alluded to above, çavaria, an over-arching LGBT association, applauds Maggie De Block’s decision.

Jeroen Borghs, the spokesman for çavaria says, “We were already extremely pleased last year when it became possible to prescribe Truvada in Belgium. However, reimbursing the cost of the drug is vital.”

He goes on, “Otherwise, it is simply too expensive.”

The Institute of Tropical Medicine, one of eleven Belgian reference centres for AIDS, is also pleased. It indicates, “The Institute sees Truvada as a significant additional prevention measure to control the HIV epidemic in Belgium.”

However, the Institute still insists upon the fact that the use of contraceptives remains vital. They maintain, “This is because Truvada offers no protection against other sexually transmitted diseases.”

According to current estimates, the policy to reimburse Truvada should avoid some 3,200 HIV infection cases between now and 2023.

Oscar Schneider
The Brussels Times
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