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NHS hope to double capacity of PrEP trial after huge demand for HIV prevention drug

Friday, January 11, 2019

NHS hope to double capacity of PrEP trial after huge demand for HIV prevention drug

NHS England has announced funding to double the size of its implementation trial of the HIV prevention drug PrEP (the ‘Impact trial’), aiming to widen participation to an additional 13,000 patients.

The numbers originally allocated to the trial have proved inadequate to meet demand, with the cap on the number of places available to clinics meaning that in some clinics people who need and want PrEP are being turned away, some of whom have gone on to acquire HIV.

In Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, no limitations have been placed on the numbers who can access PrEP.

The news that the NHS is preparing to fund so many new places will be welcomed by campaigners and clinicians across the sexual health sector, although the trial expansion will still require approval from a Trial Oversight Board, due to meet later this month.

Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust), said: “Having been pushing for increased access to PrEP for so long, we are pleased that NHS England has listened to us and agreed to fund more spaces for PrEP patients on the Impact trial. It has been completely unacceptable to see people in need of PrEP being turned away from clinics. PrEP is one of the additional tools we have always needed to reverse the spread of HIV, and these extra places will mean that fewer people acquire the virus. This is a welcome step on the path to PrEP access.”

“It’s crucial that the Trial Oversight Board approves this measure, so that we can move swiftly on to the great deal of remaining work to be done in making sure that everyone who might benefit – especially women and heterosexual men – hears the news that there’s now an effective HIV prevention pill. We need now to ensure a smooth and effective move to routine commissioning as soon as possible, alongside adequate funding to ensure that sexual health clinics can meet growing demand for their services.”

For more details or further comment, contact senior press officer Charlie Alderwick: charlie.alderwick@nat.org.uk 020 7814 6727

Notes to editor

  1. Following successful court action by NAT, NHS England agreed to commission PrEP, initially through the Impact trial, which is currently underway. For more on the impact trial see: https://www.prepimpacttrial.org.uk/
  2. For NHS England's statement see: https://www.england.nhs.uk/2019/01/update-on-the-prep-impact-trial/ 
  3. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) involves HIV negative people taking an antiretroviral drug to avoid getting HIV.
  4. For more information on PrEP see: http://www.nat.org.uk/sites/default/files/Why%20is%20PrEP%20needed.pdf

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.

Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.

www.nat.org.uk

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