We are calling on the government to make HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) available for those individuals at highest risk of HIV infection.
What is PrEP?
PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. It's a course of HIV drugs taken before sex to reduce the risk of getting HIV.
Research suggests that PrEP is as effective as condoms in preventing HIV transmission, as long as the pills are taken regularly, as directed.
More information about PrEP research.
In the UK, PrEP is only available to people enrolled in a PrEP trial, but it has been available in the US since 2012. We can't afford not to provide PrEP on the NHS when it will prevent HIV infection.
More about how PrEP works.
Why we're calling for PrEP to be made available
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended that PrEP should be made available immediately for those men who have sex with men (MSM) at greatest risk.
Research shows PrEP is an effective and economic way to prevent the spread of HIV - so why can't people at high risk get it?
Two European studies of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) reported early results in October 2014. Both studies showed that PrEP was so effective at preventing HIV transmission that everyone in these studies has now been offered PrEP.
In light of this news, together with data on continued high rates of new infections, the NHS urgently needs to find a way to make PrEP available across the UK.
The NHS must ensure that there is a process to evaluate PrEP so that it can be available as soon as possible. Furthermore, we call for interim arrangements to be agreed now for provision of PrEP to those at the highest risk of acquiring HIV.
Read our response to NHS England's decision to scrap plans for PrEP.
Download our full briefing on PrEP [PDF]
Developments this year in the campaign for PrEP
After 18 months of work on PrEP, in March 2016 NHS England suddenly abandoned its own process for the approval of PrEP, stating that ‘NHS England is not responsible for commissioning prevention services’.
Then in April, following threat of a legal challenge from the National AIDS Trust, NHS England said that it would reconsider its position on PrEP and whether or not it would continue to commission drugs, such as PrEP, via the specialised services route.
In August, the High court ruled that NHS England’s specialised commissioning process is responsible for providing PrEP.
Following this ruling, the NHS launched a consultation on the policy specification of PreP. The consultation closed on Friday 23 September and we are currently awaiting the results.
In November 2016 the Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that NHS England has the legal power to fund PrEP.
In December 2016, NHS England announced that they will fund a PrEP trial for HIV prevention.
We welcome the news that PrEP will be made available to 10,000 people, but there are many questions to be answered about the trial. We will continue to fight for PrEP to be available on the NHS to all who are at risk.