HIV Organisations Call on Public to Sign Community Statement for PrEP.
As evidence of the effectiveness of PrEP continues to emerge there is a growing international consensus on the importance of PrEP as a vital HIV prevention tool. In England, HIV transmission rates remain high, with no sign of a reduction. We need additional prevention options.
The NHS is still considering whether and how to make PrEP available. Community organisations working on HIV prevention have renewed calls to make PrEP available as soon as possible for those who need it most. They are calling on the public to sign the online statement at this crucial time, to tell decision makers that access to PrEP is a public health imperative and we need it now.
Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of NAT, said: “HIV and sexual health are too easily side-lined or ignored by politicians and decision-makers. This community statement on PrEP is our chance to get our voices heard – to say that PrEP works, is urgently needed and that the NHS must make it available without delay.”
Casper Thomson, Executive Director of NAM, said: “The evidence shows that, when taken as recommended, PrEP prevents the transmission of HIV. This is an important new addition to the range of prevention options. If we are to see significant reductions in HIV rates, we must make PrEP available within the NHS. It cannot be acceptable for people to get HIV who would have been protected had they had access to PrEP.”
Greg Mitchell, a participant on the PROUD PrEP study, said about his experience taking PrEP “It was the removal of anxiety and that is something I cannot quantify and which I cannot get across to people enough. We have to create a demand. If there's no demand, we won't get it. We have to be vocal about it”
What is PrEP and why do we need it?
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is a treatment as prevention method that involves taking a daily pill to prevent HIV infection. Although condom use remains a core strategy in HIV prevention, they do not work for everybody, all of the time, for a variety of reasons.
PrEP has the potential to prevent HIV acquisition among those who are most at risk.
How effective is PrEP?
Research suggests that PrEP is as effective as condoms in preventing HIV transmission, as long as it is taken as prescribed, without missing doses.
Will PrEP encourage increased risky behaviour?
There is no evidence to suggest that being on PrEP changes sexual risk behaviours. In fact, the PrOUD study found no difference in the number of STI’s across the groups participating in the study (The immediate group who were taking PrEP and the deferred group who were not) suggesting that this should not be a big concern.