Today NHS England announced that 86 PrEP trial sites in England outside of London have accepted additional places. However, this means a third of locations outside of London have not yet accepted additional places while the stalemate continues in the capital with councils still unable to reach a decision on how many additional places to accept. That’s despite around half of trial sites being closed to gay and bisexual men in the capital and London seeing more new HIV diagnoses than anywhere else in the country.
Terrence Higgins Trust is calling for the urgent doubling of places to be accepted in both London and the remaining third of trial sites outside of the capital in order to ensure equitable access to PrEP for HIV prevention across England.
Ian Green, Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, said:
‘There’s no other way to describe what’s happening around PrEP access in England than as a mess. It’s absolutely unacceptable that gay and bisexual men in London and other parts of the country are still unable to access PrEP for HIV prevention. And while we welcome additional places being made available in some sites outside of London, we’re disappointed that this isn’t happening at a significant number of trial locations.
‘The stalemate on PrEP needs to be resolved urgently and we won’t stop fighting until that happens. It’s ridiculous that in London we’re still waiting for a final decision to be made a month after NHS England announced the doubling of places on the trial. Meanwhile, gay and bisexual men who are denied access to PrEP are going on to contract HIV.
‘Now we’re once again calling for urgent leadership on this from NHS England, the Department of Health & Social Care and councils to find a solution for both the short and long term. That means urgently expanding access to PrEP in England as well as committing to PrEP becoming routinely available to all who could benefit. That’s the only way to resolve this mess.’