Campaigners say Scotland has led the way in prescribing Prep on the NHS
Scotland has made history by prescribing a ground-breaking HIV treatment say campaigners.
The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has agreed to approve the treatment known as Prep.
It means the country is the first to routinely prescribe the drug, a daily dose of which scientists say can protect people at risk of contracting HIV.
Robert McKay, the national director for the Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland, said: "Today, Scotland has made history in the fight against the HIV epidemic," he said.
"Prep can now be used as a vital tool – alongside condom use, regular testing and early treatment – to help bring an end to HIV transmission in Scotland.
"Not only will this make a life-changing difference to individuals by protecting them from a lifelong and stigmatised condition, but for every person who would have become HIV positive without Prep, NHS Scotland will save £360,000 in lifetime treatment costs."
Latest figures from Health Protection Scotland show 285 new cases of HIV were reported in 2016, down from an annual average of 359 over the last five years.
Gilead, the manufacturer of Prep – officially branded as Truvada – applied to the SMC following Scottish Government backing last year.
It followed a series of legal battles in England over whether the NHS or local authorities should pay for the medication.
In a statement HIV Scotland said: “We believe this is a fantastic outcome towards reducing HIV transmissions, and shows what progress can be made when professionals and the community are able to join together to learn from each other and find solutions.
“Hundreds of community members across Scotland got in touch with us and other charities, attending information events, contributing to consultations and decision making groups, appealing to clinics.
“This outcome was only made possible by these collaborations.”