Nigel Farage: It’s not ‘un-Christian’ to deny HIV treatment

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Nigel Farage has claimed it is not ‘un-Christian’ to refuse to treat foreign people with HIV on the NHS.

During the Leaders’ Debate on Thursday, the UKIP leader claimed: “There are 7000 diagnoses in this country every year for people who are HIV positive, but 60 percent of them are not for British nationals.

“You can come into Britain, from anywhere in the world, and get diagnosed with HIV, and get the anti-retroviral drugs which cost up to £25,000 per year per patient.”

His comments have been strongly condemned by the leaders of other parties and by HIV charities – while fact checkers pointed out his stat included non-British nationals who have contracted HIV in this country, and ignores the concept of herd immunity.

However, Mr Farage stuck by his claim in an interview with Sky News.

He said: “What good Christian would say to an 85-year-old woman ‘you can’t have breast cancer treatment because we can’t afford it’, whilst at the same time shovelling a billion pounds on foreign aid, allowing people from all over the world to fly into Britain as health tourists get an HIV test and drugs over £20,000 a year?

“It is a sensible Christian thing to look after your family and your own community first.”

UKIP candidate Douglas Carswell – who was the first MP to defect from the Conservative party – has refused to back his leader over the comments.

The rift is significant as Mr Carswell as seen as a potential UKIP leader if Farage fails to win a seat in South Thanet.