Labour MEP candidate Cyrus Engerer has reacted to questions about Malta’s lack of free treatment for individuals exposed to HIV and the “unacceptable” situation at Mater Dei’s GU Clinic.
These comments were made in an interview with Lovin Malta that will be published at the end of the week.
During the interview Engerer, who has worked in Brussels as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to the EU for the past four years, was asked why Maltese citizens still had to pay around €600 to obtain PEP, a life-saving HIV medication the government had promised would be made free.
“I’m proud to have had [policies about free HIV treatment] added to the electoral manifesto in 2017,” he said, and explained that after working with Health Minister Chris Fearne before the election, he is confident the life-saving drug, will be available free eventually, since it was “mentioned in the manifesto”.
While on the subject of sexual health, Cyrus took the opportunity to speak about the situation in Malta’s GU Clinic, saying he “does not like the way it works at the moment”.
“I think it’s unacceptable for someone to call the GU clinic, for example and have someone ask for tests, and the person is told to wait for four months. It’s ridiculous.”
Having spoken to the Minister about the speed with which a disease can spread, and the need for immediate action, as opposed to a four-month wait, Engerer has said Chris Fearne is “well aware” of the situation, and has already “worked hard to improve [it]”.
“I think that and I am confident that we will introduce all the measures we mentioned in the electoral manifesto. They weren’t measures which were just put there just to have something on civil liberties after we had introduced most civil liberties in our country but they are things we worked on very hard.”
“It came out when we were studying the proposal that it is in reality much cheaper for instance with HIV, to roll out such a programme rather than have treatment afterwards for people who would have been infected.”