AN HIV prevention drug should be available on the NHS.

That is the view of Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Leeds North West Greg Mulholland, who is backing his party's stance on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).

The Lib Dems have announced that they would ensure access to the treatment - for people in high risk groups - through the NHS in as part of their election manifesto.

The once-a-day pill reduces the risk of HIV infection by 86 per cent but the NHS has yet to approve its use - and it is currently only available in the UK through a private prescription that costs about £400 a month.

Mr Mulholland said: "I am pleased that this commitment has been included in our manifesto, given the impact that PrEP would have on the rates of HIV infection.

"It is vital that this drug is made available; it is incredibly effective in preventing HIV infection and this is far more effective than trying to treat people once they are infected."

The party's Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb said: "PrEP is a vital weapon in the fight against HIV, and it's high time that it was made routinely available to those who are at risk of infection.

"We know that PrEP is highly effective in reducing transmission of the virus. Prevention is always better than treatment, so it makes absolutely no sense to delay roll-out of the drug any longer."