Earlier this morning it was announced that the NHS England will be rolling out PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to 10,000 people as part of a brand new trial due to start in Spring 2017.
It is said that the trial will not be used to determine how effective Truvada as a prevention method to reduce risks of HIV transmission but rather to determine an accurate criteria of which patients are deemed more high-risk and also to determine how long patients should stay on the drug. PrEP has proven to have its maximum potential against HIV if adhered to daily.
The criteria of who will be eligible for the trial will include those who have had an STI in the last three months but full details of the criteria are yet to be released according to BuzzFeed news.
In another twist the NHS England have said they will be using PrEP from generic manufacturers rather than from Gilead, the company behind Truvada. This will allow the NHS to fund both the trial at a cost of £10million and medical interventions being considered at the same time as PrEP.
Dr Ian Williams, chairman of NHS England’s group on HIV, said:
“This announcement demonstrates NHS England’s commitment to fund Prep and provides the chance to best prepare England for optimal roll-out following this large-scale clinical trial.
“For now, the trial will provide access to Prep for thousands of people most at risk of acquiring HIV.”
After the NAT (National AIDS Trust) prompted court action against NHS England, they argued back that it was not their responsibility to fund PrEP for those in need or deemed ‘high risk’ but rather it was up to local councils.
Deborah Gold, chief executive of the National Aids Trust, said: “We are absolutely delighted that following our wins in court, NHS England, working with Public Health England and local government, will be now making Prep available on a large scale, and quickly, to those who need it.”
Commissioning of PrEP is due to start as early as Spring 2017 but if you feel you are in need PrEP now and are considering purchasing the drug, take a look at our guide to purchasing PrEP here
Many activists and HIV charities are celebrating the announcement whereas some are accusing the NHS of fudging a delay through a weak and unfair compromise as GP’s will still not have the power to prescribe PrEP to somebody who may be deemed high-risk.
We’d like to publicly thank NAT for all of their efforts to help bring PrEP to as many people as possible in the UK and for never giving up on those that are in need.