I’m writing out of pure frustration today. The more involved I become in the HIV/PrEP arena the more it seems that the solutions we are desperately searching for are already here! We just aren’t joining up the dots.
I’m going to kick off trying to defuse my frustrations by starting with PrEP. Particularly in light of last Friday’s News headlines.
The Guardian, Fri 9th October 2015
“NHS hospitals’ £930m overspend prompts calls for urgent funding”
“Fears grow that hospitals will run out of money and care standards will deteriorate unless chancellor injects more cash”
BBC News, Fri 9th October 2015
“NHS deficits hit ‘massive’ £930m”
“NHS trusts in England have racked up a £930m deficit in the first three months of the financial year – that is more than the entire overspend last year.”
“Regulators said the problems were the “worst for a generation” and demanded immediate action be taken.”
So the NHS have over spent! Big surprise… Well wake the fuck up people! If you haven’t been given enough funds to start with – and you only spend what you need to – YOU WILL TECHNICALLY OVERSPEND! I’m not exactly sure why this was worthy of such sensationalist headline attention on Friday. Although £930m is a substantial figure – we need to put it into context. They overspent by £930m in the first quarter. So if we multiply that by 4 to get a projection of what their total overspend for the year would be (at current performance) that would be an annual deficit of £3.72 billion. The NHS has a total annual budget of £95.6 billion. So that equates to an overspend of 3.6%. In any budget I have ever compiled in my previous career in accounts for staffing and marketing – we always had a contingency of 5%-10% of the overall budget to allow for the unknown or to cover things that might go wrong. However…
“The NHS are projected to overspend on their annual budget by 3.6 percent” – isn’t such a punchy headline.
Semantics aside. £930m is still a lot of money. It’s clear that the NHS needs to save money. And this is where I keep getting frustrated. Especially in regards to HIV treatment and PrEP HIV prevention. Time for some more figures (please stick with me on this)
Every single day, here in the UK, 10 ‘men who have sex with men’ – that’s gay or bi men (cis or trans) catch HIV.
10 gay/bi guys a day get HIV.
Let that figure settle in for a moment.
HIV treatment for a positive guy (drugs + health care ie seeing Nurses and Consultants + any counselling that might be needed) costs approx. £20,000 per person, per year
So if we say 10 guys per day get HIV…there are 365 days per year…
10 x 365 = 3650 guys per year
3650 guys x £20,000 = £73,000,000 (per year)
So with our little series of calculations we can all agree that new HIV cases will cost the NHS £73m per year.
With that £73m figure in mind. Let’s work out the cost of giving 3650 guys PrEP for a year.
I’m using the price from Dean Street’s PrEP clinic website…
1 month of PrEP costs £400
So 1 year’s PrEP costs 12 months x £400 = £4,800 per person
3,650 guys x £4,800 = £17,520,000 (per year) to keep these guys negative. Negative guys generally won’t need to be in clinics regularly or require on going health care and support for HIV – if they haven’t got it.
Now we can work out how much the NHS would SAVE if none of these 3,650 guys ever got HIV because they were all on (free NHS supplied) PrEP
£73m – £17.5m = £55.5m
STOP THE FUCKING PRESS!
We could actually (in theory) save the NHS £55.5 million per year just by getting our mates on PrEP and keeping them HIV NEGATIVE…..
Doesn’t take a genius to work it out…..
MAKE PrEP AVAILABLE FOR FREE NOW….
JOIN THE FUCKING DOTS…….