NHS England launches three-year trial of HIV-prevention drugs for gay men


PrEP will be available for 10,000 people across the country.

NHS England have launched their long-awaited three-year trial of HIV-prevention drugs in the hopes of significantly reducing the number of people acquiring the virus.

PrEP – Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis – is an anti-HIV medication taken by people who are HIV negative to lower their risk of contracting the infection.

NHS England will be using the drug Truvada for their trial, giving it out to groups of people considered to be at high risk of exposure to HIV for free.

London’s 10 Hammersmith Broadway began enrolment yesterday, with 56 Dean Street in Soho expected to start theirs today.

A full list of clinics taking part in the trial will be available online on the IMPACT website in the coming weeks.

“The PrEP Impact Trial aims to answer key questions about the use of PrEP by groups at a higher need in England. The trial is planned to last three years and enrol 10,000 participants at high risk of acquiring HIV,” the website explains.

“Whilst the efficacy of PrEP has been established in multiple trials across the world, including the PROUD trial that was conducted in England, the relatively small sample prevented the results being generalised to all sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinic attendees and left unanswered key questions about large-scale use of PrEP.

Related: It’s saddening that gay men will unnecessarily endure suffering because of delays in making PrEP available

The PrEP Impact Trial aims to address the outstanding questions about eligibility, uptake and length of use through expanding the assessment to the scale required to obtain sufficient data.

“The trial is a pragmatic health technology assessment of PrEP and its implementation, that is, it aims to answer the key questions under real world conditions and at sufficient scale.

“In addition, the new trial will assess the impact of PrEP on new HIV diagnoses and sexually transmitted infections. The results will inform service commissioners (funders) on how to support clinical and cost effective PrEP access in the future.”

Ian Green, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, previously said: “The priority must now be to make sure that the trial reaches everyone at risk of HIV, and that it is rolled out speedily across the whole country, by the end of this year at the very latest.

“Now that the PrEP trial drug has been procured, we’re well on the way to protecting over 10,000 people at risk of HIV.

“To make sure no-one at risk of HIV is left behind, it is crucial that at the end of this trial in three years time, a clear process for routinely commissioning PrEP on the NHS is agreed.”

The World Health Organisation recently added PrEP to its list of essential medicines.

Related: European Parliament calls for PrEP to be distributed across Europe




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