London Councils have agreed to add 4,000 new places to an NHS England PrEP trial after the programme was oversubscribed.
They announced the new places yesterday on the PrEP Impact Trial, and said they would be implemented in the coming weeks.
PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and the drug’s brand name is Truvada. It can drastically reduce the risk of being infected with HIV if taken daily.
NHS England have backed plans to double the trial’s places in London
In January, NHS England backed plans for London places on the trial to be doubled after it was reported that many clinics had reached capacity and were turning gay and bisexual men away. The drug is not currently subsidised by the NHS.
Two-thirds of London sites involved in the trial are currently unable to offer gay and bisexual men places as they have reached capacity.
Responding to the decision to add 4,000 new places, Councillor Ray Puddifoot, London Councils Executive Member for Health & Care said: “We’ve played a key role in the success of the trial so far, rolling out the programme in sexual health clinics across the capital to ensure thousands of Londoners receive PrEP.
“Today’s news is progress but this remains a job only half complete as places must be doubled to address the high demand seen for PrEP.”
– Debbie Laycock, Terrence Higgins Trust
“We’re pleased to announce that boroughs will provide these additional places on the PrEP Impact Trial. Looking to the future, we’re keen for national partners in the government and NHS to confirm funding arrangements for PrEP provision.
“While extra places on the PrEP Impact Trial represent a step forward, we ultimately want to see NHS-funded PrEP available to everyone at high risk of HIV exposure – as is the case in Scotland and Wales.”
The Terrence Higgins Trust welcomed the news, but said there is more to be done
Meanwhile, Debbie Laycock, head of policy with the Terrence Higgins Trust, welcomed the news and said “some leadership” is being shown.
“This is a welcome step in the right direction that will provide some relief to those in the capital who have been denied access to the trial. We welcome the acknowledgement by London Councils that PrEP must be available to everyone at high risk of HIV exposure and as such withholding access is simply not an option.”
However, she noted that the 4,000 new places would still leave London “far short” of the promised doubling of places promised in January.
“Today’s news is progress but this remains a job only half complete as places must be doubled to address the high demand seen for PrEP,” she said.
“We need urgent leadership on this from NHS England, the Department for Health & Social Care and councils across the capital because no one at risk of HIV should be turned away.”