The Scottish Medicine Consortium gave its approval for the use of the controversial gay lifestye drug, making Scotland the first in the U.K. to legally allow its use.
The gay lifestyle drug, called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, was formulated as a preventive medicine against HIV for men with a homosexual lifestyle that puts them at high risk of contracting the disease.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the drug "is a way for people who do not have HIV but who are at substantial risk of getting it to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day." The drug contains medicines that are used to treat HIV.
"When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection," the CDC said.
The gay lifestyle drug has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection by up to 92 percent. However, it should be taken consistently and with other prevention methods for optimum effect, the CDC said.
Last year, the National Health Service conducted a large-scale clinical trial of PrEP. It was highly criticized by some groups, particularly when the trial cost £10 million. At the same time the trial was approved, the NHS denied funding for three other treatments.
"It worries me to be spending money on this at a time when the NHS is so strapped for cash, with so many patients being refused treatment, and waiting lists getting longer," Joyce Robins, president of Patient Concern, said, according to The Christian Institute.
Norman Wells, director of Family Education Trust, shares the same concern as Robins, saying there is something amiss about the NHS giving priority for a drug that protects people with high-risk lifestyle against HIV when there are other conditions that need to be treated.
"At a time of severe financial restraint, it is quite wrong to prioritise a preventative initiative for people who engage in high-risk activities over treatments for people with diagnosed conditions outside their control," Wells said.
The gay lifestyle drug is quite expensive. If taken consistently, it will cost a patient about £450 per month.
The question remains as to whether or not it will help prevent the spread of HIV. AIDS Healthcare Foundation believes it will actually help the disease to spread because it encourages people to embrace a promiscuous lifestyle, The Christian Institute said.
On September 2016, the University of California Los Angeles released a report saying there is a link between the use of PrEP, particularly by men who have sex with men, and the increase of sexually transmitted infections. The report was published in the September 10 issue of the journal AIDS.