Terrence Higgins Trust have today announced plans to launch a new PrEP Access Fund later this year.
Starting this autumn, Britain’s leading HIV and sexual health charity will support people in England and Northern Ireland who cannot access or afford the HIV prevention drug PrEP.
It comes as the NHS in England are currently running a three-year PrEP Impact Trial, but many gay and bi men applying to access the drug are being turned away.
In Northern Ireland, people who can afford to buy it privately are the only ones who can get access to it.
The new PrEP Access Fund intends to support up to 1,000 people on low or no income, who can demonstrate their need for help covering day-today expenses.
Speaking about the new initiative, Terrence Higgins Trust CEO Ian 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.”
People who wish to apply for the Access Fund will need to be aged 16 or over, HIV negative and residing in England or Northern Ireland.
They must also be clinically eligible for PrEP by BHIVA/BASHH standards, and will have to evidence the fact they are on low or no income.
The PrEP Access Fund will cover a three-month supply of generic PrEP at a time.