From today, HIV treatment is free for all who need it in England

Roger Pebody
Published: 01 October 2012

The removal of charges for undocumented migrants and non-UK citizens accessing HIV treatment and care in England comes into effect today. From now on, HIV treatment will be provided free of charge to all who need it, regardless of citizenship or immigration status.

The move was first announced in February and the relevant legislation passed in June. Health ministers have justified the change on the grounds of public health, pointing to the impact that HIV treatment has on onward transmission.

Although it was initially proposed that free HIV treatment should only be available to people who have been living in the UK for more than six months, this requirement has not been retained in the legislation.

While treatment in HIV clinics will always be free of charge, migrants living with HIV who need hospital treatment for another health condition, such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer, or who require antenatal care, may still be subject to charging regulations.

Moreover, the rules have only changed in England.

In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the legislation still states that HIV treatment may be chargeable, although charges for HIV treatment have not been levied or actively pursued in recent years. The National AIDS Trust (NAT) has called for a formal change in the law in these countries, to ensure that free universal access to HIV treatment is guaranteed across the UK. 

For more information see our webpages on Access to health care.


NAT (National AIDS Trust)

London, United Kingdom

Research and campaigns to improve HIV policy and services; online educational and policy resources; briefings to government departments for draft legislation and public policy; improving public awareness; working to ensure accurate coverage of HIV in the media; managing a policy network for organisations with similar aims.

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Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.