The Aids Foundation is investigating how a drug programme to prevent HIV in homosexual men could be introduced to New Zealand, after a trial in Britain found it cut the risk of infection by 85 per cent among gay men at high risk of the disease.
Truvada, a pill containing two anti-retroviral medications, is state-funded in New Zealand for treatment of diagnosed human immunodeficiency virus and for preventing infection within three days of exposure to the virus.
But it is not funded for preventive use before exposure.
Treatment costs about $17,000 a year per patient, the foundation says.
The trial by University College London compared rates of HIV in 545 gay men at very high risk of the infection. Of those given Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis or "PrEP", 1.1 per cent developed HIV, compared with 7.1 per cent of those not given the treatment.
A British HIV/Aids charity, quoted in the Telegraph, said, "PrEP is, quite simply, a game-changer".
NZ Aids Foundation executive director Shaun Robinson wants it trialled in New Zealand in high-risk gay men and has had preliminary talks with the Ministry of Health.
But the ministry first wants to see peer-reviewed and published results of the British trial.