NHS to trial PrEP in England

NHS to trial PrEP in England
Cedit: Shutterstock.com/ Marc Bruxelle

The NHS has announced plans for a three-year trial of the HIV prevention drug PrEP in a move that has been hailed by HIV charities.

This follows protests from the service which initially resisted the treatment in courts where it cited high costs as a hurdle in making the treatment available.

The NHS u-turned on its stance after the National AIDS Trust challenge its position and was ruled in favour of by the High Court.

Now, PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) will be made available to 10,000 people at high risk of HIV infection.

Beginning next month, health clinics in major cities across the UK – including London and Manchester – will begin recruiter people for the trial.

The treatment is already available in Scotland and is currently being trialled in Wales.

The service said it had reached an agreement with manufacturers through which the cost will be kept below the £10 million line.

Past trials have found that PrEP – which can disable HIV before it takes hold – can stem the risk of infection by some 80%.

Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, said: “This major new intervention should complement and supercharge the wide-ranging and increasingly successful effort to prevent HIV.

“It’s another milestone in more than three decade’s worth of progress in tackling one of humanity’s major health challenges.”

We explore the advances in the AIDs and HIV sphere in our May/June issue – you can read for free here.