Today we, along with 29 other charities and organisations, have written to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP, to demand his promise of routine PrEP access by April 2020 is delivered.
On Tuesday 29 October 2019, the Secretary of State was questioned in Parliament about future access to the HIV prevention drug, stating: “The roll-out from a trial to routine commissioning will happen in April.” With MPs now returning to Parliament, we are urging the Government to take immediate action to ensure this happens without any delay.
The letter, which has been signed by organisations including Terrence Higgins Trust, National AIDS Trust, Prepster, Stonewall and the British HIV Association, warns that places on the current Impact Trial are projected to run out before April 2020.
At present, 36 trial places across England are closed to gay and bisexual men. It has been recently reported that 15 men have contracted HIV while waiting for a place on the trial, with the number in reality expected to be higher.
Within London – which accounted for one third of all new HIV diagnoses in 2018 – councils have still not accepted a 40% increase in trial places. Without an increase in places, London is set to exhaust its allocation for gay and bisexual men imminently.
As part of the wider response to HIV, the UK Government must now re-commit to its previous pledge to end new HIV transmissions in England by 2030 and ensure that PrEP is a key part of making that commitment a reality.
We’re calling on the Government to re-commit to introducing routine commissioning of PrEP from April 2020 and provide extra funding so places are made available to all who need it until the national programme is available.
As we enter the fourth decade of the HIV epidemic, we must now redouble our efforts to the end epidemic once and for all. Alongside other HIV prevention methods, PrEP will help us to get there. We cannot wait any longer.