UKIP wrong about HIV data and health tourism, say campaigners

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 13 April 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h1943
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1The BMJ

HIV experts and campaigners have refuted claims by the leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) that most people in the United Kingdom with a diagnosis of HIV are foreign nationals who come to the country as “health tourists” with the specific aim of exploiting the NHS.

During an election debate broadcast on ITV at 8 pm on 2 April Nigel Farage said that 60% of the 7000 people every year who are given a diagnosis of HIV “are not British nationals.” He said, “You can come into Britain from anywhere in the world and get diagnosed with HIV and get [anti]retroviral drugs that cost up to £25 000 [€34 000; $37 000] per year per patient.” When challenged he added, “It is a fact. It is true: £2bn a year is going on health tourism.”

However, when asked to verify the figures Public Health England said that Farage had misread the 2014 report covering surveillance data for 2013. This report showed that …

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