- The fund, which launches this autumn, intends to support up to 1,000 people in England and Northern Ireland
- It will run until PrEP is routinely commissioned in England and Northern Ireland.
- The fund will stop people who have been unable to access the NHS PrEP Impact Trial and who cannot afford privately purchased PrEP from contracting HIV.
Terrence Higgins Trust, Britain’s leading HIV and sexual health charity, has today announced it will launch a PrEP Access Fund this autumn to support people in England and Northern Ireland who cannot access or afford the HIV preventative drug PrEP.
In England, the NHS is currently running a three-year PrEP Impact Trial, from which many gay and bisexual men are being turned away by clinics that have no more spaces for them.
PrEP is only available in Northern Ireland for those who can afford to buy it privately.
The fund from Terrence Higgins Trust intends to support up to 1,000 people on low or no income who can demonstrate their need for support to cover day-to-day expenses, subject to funding. It was announced in Amsterdam this morning by the charity’s CEO Ian Green, at the 22nd annual International AIDS Conference.
Green said: ‘The fact that a charity is having to step in to fund PrEP access to those in most financial need is an embarrassment, and demonstrates the crucial need for NHS England, local authorities in England and Health and Social Care Northern Ireland to act now.
‘People who are being denied access to PrEP and who are unable to afford it are being put at risk of contracting HIV, which is completely unacceptable.
‘We need to see additional spaces for gay and bisexual men added to the NHS PrEP Impact Trial as a matter of urgency, and routine commissioning of PrEP in both England and Northern Ireland.
‘Last week, we were one of 32 organisations who came together to call for routine commissioning of PrEP in England by April 2019.
‘There’s still so much work to do to enable us to end HIV transmission in the UK, and enabling all people to access PrEP is one of a number of tools that will allow us to do that.
‘Terrence Higgins Trust will continue to work toward this, while also continuing to advocate for other tools including testing, condoms and treatment as prevention.’
Applicants for the Access Fund need to be aged 16 or over, HIV negative and residing in England or Northern Ireland, must be clinically eligible for PrEP by BHIVA/BASHH standards and will have to evidence the fact they are on low or no income.
There will be a key focus on identifying those receiving benefits, those who have no recourse to public funds and groups who we know are at particular risk of HIV.
The fund will cover a three-month supply of generic PrEP at a time, in the form of vouchers for PrEP provider Dynamix, the preferred seller of iwantPrEPnow (part of Terrence Higgins Trust).
It will be open until the end of the Impact Trial or when PrEP is routinely commissioned in England and Northern Ireland.
PrEP is currently commissioned by the NHS in Scotland, and is available in Wales as part of a trial study.
You can find out where to access PrEP at www.tht.org.uk/prep.