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Councils in London may block additional PrEP places proposed for gay and bisexual men

Thursday, February 28, 2019

NHS England announced today that whilst the PrEP Impact trial will double the number of places on the trial in clinics outside London, local authority commissioners in London are still considering what proportion of the proposed additional places they wish to accept. Fifty per cent of PrEP Impact Trial places are for London clinics.

At least 11 of the 23 London clinics currently have no places available for gay and bisexual men. The result is men needing PrEP are being turned away. Some will go on to acquire HIV as a result.

Additional places agreed by London’s councils will mean clinics can re-open which would be very welcome. But should they turn down some of their full allocation they run the risk of yet again running out of places in the near future.

Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust), said: “We strongly welcome the doubling of places in England outside of London which we trust will mean sufficient PrEP places until the implementation of a national PrEP programme. We urge all those responsible to now redouble their efforts to agree such a programme as soon as possible.

“The delay from London’s sexual health commissioners and the possibility they may refuse some of the additional PrEP places proposed is unacceptable. On past form they are simply rescheduling for a few months yet another crisis in PrEP access for gay and bisexual men in the capital, and men in need of PrEP will soon be being turned away once more. We urge London’s councils to accept all allocated PrEP places as a matter of urgency.

“We are acutely aware of the financial pressures faced by sexual health services – but the answer to that cannot be to pick on one group of people and deny them incredibly important and effective HIV prevention. Gay and bisexual men are being used as a bargaining chip in a stand-off between local councils, NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care. It is a sad and shameful episode in the history of sexual health commissioning in London.”

For more details or further comment, contact senior press officer Charlie Alderwick: 020 7814 6727

About NAT

NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expertise and practical resources. We champion the rights of people living with HIV and campaign for change.

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