NHS England still committed to PrEP trial
NHS England is still aiming to start the PrEP Impact trial this summer. The three-year trial of pre-exposure HIV prophylaxis was announced last December and NHS England has been under increasing pressure from charities and organisations involved in sexual health to deliver on its promise.
Responding to stakeholder pressure, NHS England emphasised in a recent statement that the PrEP trial is still a top priority for the organisation.
Public Health England says that most specialised genitourinary medicine clinics have demonstrated a willingness to take part. NHS England is undergoing a procurement exercise for the trial drugs which could be available from early August, in readiness for the trial to begin once ethics approval is received and trial sites are prepared.
United4PrEP, a coalition of charities and individuals campaigning for PrEP to be made available, have expressed doubt that the summer deadline will be reached, and is calling for more speed and transparency from NHS England and Public Health England.
The United4PrEP coalition, which includes Terrence Higgins Trust, says: ‘We are seriously concerned that NHS England and Public Health England are not fully committed to the PrEP trial that was promised over six months ago. They have repeatedly missed their own deadlines, and kept their plans vague so they cannot be held to account.’
The trial, called the PrEP Impact Trial, will include at least 10 000 participants over the next three years and will answer key outstanding questions on the extent of need, uptake and duration of use of PrEP in the setting of sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinics in England.
Scotland has already announced it will make PrEP routinely available on the NHS for those at risk by July. Wales has announced plans to introduce a PrEP pilot by July.