Free, fast track access to PrEP coming to London
People in London will soon have access to a free, fast-tracked supply of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis).
Those who meet the eligibility criteria will soon get a free, six month supply of the HIV preventative medication.
The improved access to PrEP comes thanks to HIV and sexual health charity, Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) and the UK’s busiest sexual health clinic, 56 Dean Street.
To meet the eligibility criteria people must be over 16 and a England or Northern Ireland resident. They should also be clinically eligible for PrEP, able to confirm HIV negative status and engagement with sexual health services. They must also be able to prove they have no income or are on benefits.
‘PrEP is a game-changer in HIV prevention so it’s absolutely vital that no one is turned away from accessing it,’ said Ian Green, THT’s chief executive.
‘This innovative new partnership will further expand our ability to reduce HIV transmissions and ensure more people can enjoy good sexual health.’
THT provided the financial resources from a fund named after sexual health pioneer, Dr Mags Portman.
An ’embarrassment’ that PrEP is not more available
PrEP has only been available in England and Wales through the PrEP Impact Trial. It is also available through an online application where people pay out of pocket for the medicaton.
But 40 of the Trial’s sites – seven of which are in London – are closed to gay and bisexual men.
Earlier this year, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock pledged to double all places on the trial but this has still not been fully delivered, with London Councils only agreeing to provide a 60% increase.
THT along with HIV charity, National AIDS Trust, and PrEP advocacy group, PrEPster have joined forces. They have written a stern letter to Hancock urging action on the provision of PrEP.
The charities are holding an event in Parliament next week to lobby parliamentarians. They want MPs to take action on PrEP access. Their aim is to ensure that no one who could benefit from it is refused access.
‘It should be seen as an embarrassment that a charity is having to step in to facilitate access to this effective drug,’ Green said.
‘We are redoubling our efforts to demand action from the Health Secretary to fix this chaotic situation so that he along with NHS England and Local Authorities can find a sustainable solution.’
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Author: Shannon Power