A pill which could dramatically reduce the spread of HIV in the gay community should be available on the NHS, according to an outreach charity.

There are calls for NHS England to consider the benefits of making the drug Truvada widely available after positive results in a UK trial.

The spread of HIV in London boroughs has rapidly increased over the last decade.

In Waltham Forest it is estimated almost five people in every thousand are infected.

In 2012 the Truvada was trialled in a study entitled Proud in the UK.

Results across 12 NHS trusts showed Truvada cut infection rates among gay men by 86 per cent.

The cost of taking the pill is around £360 per person, per month.

Truvada is already widely prescribed to people already infected with HIV.

London’s largest HIV charity, Positive East, carries out daily outreach work in Waltham Forest.

Director Mark Santos said the results are a “major turning point”.

He said: “This is really good news in our battle against HIV.

“HIV is preventable and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a very welcome addition to the prevention ‘toolbox’.

“It won’t be the right choice for everyone but we welcome all ways to prevent HIV infection. We believe it should be available for free on the NHS.

“We know it is expensive but it is much much cheaper than the costs of a lifetime of HIV treatment. Prevention is always cheaper than a cure. In this case much cheaper as there is no cure for HIV.”

“We now want to see the trial extended to other high risks groups, especially the African and Afro-Caribbean communities,

The number of people living with HIV in the UK is now at its highest level, with over 110,000 people infected.

Nearly half of them live in London.

It is estimated about 20 per cent of the people infected with HIV don’t know they are carrying the virus.

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