LGBT Foundation reaffirms efforts to make PrEP universally available following NHS England announcement on trial expansion
Published: 28 February 2019 Tags: PrEP, HIV, sexual health By Emma Meehan
Today LGBT Foundation welcomes the expansion of places on the PrEP Impact Trial in Greater Manchester, but believe that PrEP must be made universally available to all those who need it on the NHS.
In January, the PrEP Oversight Board confirmed its agreement in principle to double the number of places available on the PrEP Impact Trial following expert recommendations by researchers but wanted more information on the impact on services. NHS England has already committed to provide funding for the PrEP drug and research costs for up to 26,000 individuals, based on the current terms. Before finalising arrangements and releasing places, participating clinics and Local Authority commissioners, were asked to confirm if they had the capacity to take on additional places. Around 80% of participating clinics have confirmed they have the capacity to accept additional trial places, including those in Greater Manchester.
We now look forward to more people in Greater Manchester being able to access this life-changing drug, and offer our assistance to anyone seeking further information on how to join the Impact Trial. However, we are concerned and disappointed to hear that there is no timetable for expansion in London. We strongly urge action to remedy this, and for the commitment to new places to be nationwide. We also have concerns about how the rapid expansion will work on the ground, particularly for those people on the waiting list awaiting access to PrEP.
We believe that making PrEP available to all those who need it on the NHS would greatly reduce HIV stigma and shame, and urge NHS England to look at all possible models for providing access to PrEP. We believe that community partners such as LGBT Foundation could play a key role in doing this, and we remain committed to working with all partners to make PrEP universally available. Prior to the launch of the Impact Trial we knew that PrEP was effective at preventing HIV transmission, through numerous efficacy trials. We also believe that there is now sufficient data from the Impact Trial to understand participants’ engagement with sexual health services and their dosing of PrEP.
Rob Cookson, Deputy Chief Executive of LGBT Foundation said:
“We are extremely concerned about the speed in which access to the additional places on the trial will become available. Rapid expansion needs to mean rapid. We should never forget that PrEP, alongside other prevention methods, is a game changer in ending all new cases of HIV within a generation.”
We will continue to strongly advocate for the sexual health and wellbeing of our community. For further information on PrEP including dosing, sourcing and additional sexual health support, visit lgbt.foundation/PrEP. If you need support with your sexual health and wellbeing call our helpline on 0345 3 30 30 30 or email [email protected]