'Game-changer' HIV drug prescribed to 1900 Scots in year
PrEP can be prescribed for free to those who have a high risk of becoming infected with HIV.
Almost 1900 Scots have been given prescriptions for a pioneering HIV treatment a year since it was first introduced.
Described as a potential "game-changer in Scotland's drive to eliminate HIV", Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) can be prescribed free to those who have a very high risk of becoming infected with HIV.
The number of prescriptions exceeded the expectations of NHS National Services Scotland (NSS), who revealed that 99% of those accessing it were men who have sex with other men.
Professor David Goldberg, the chair of Scotland's National HIV PrEP Coordinating Group, said: "Sexual health service teams throughout the country should be congratulated for successfully implementing an exciting new measure which has the potential to be a game-changer in Scotland's drive to eliminate HIV infection from its population.
"The programme has already entered its second year and the focus is now also on reaching other groups who could benefit from PrEP; these include some women and transgender people."
Although too early to assess the impact on HIV transmission in Scotland, clinical trials have shown PrEP to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted HIV by 75-86%.
The treatment is available across Scotland, with most patients accessing it through sexual health services, although NSS figures show that roughly 20% of those receiving PrEP had never visited a sexual health clinic before.
Nathan Sparling, chief executive of HIV Scotland, said: "Scotland was the first country in the UK to embrace the PrEP revolution with full and free access.
"This report shows it was a great first year, with more people at risk of HIV taking it than anyone anticipated.
"We know that people are accessing PrEP to prevent HIV, and we know from this report that more people are considering the importance of good sexual health than ever before.
"People are telling us that PrEP is working for them, and we should be proud of our collective achievement."