A fifth (22%) of respondents to the third annual survey of PrEP users had tried and failed to obtain PrEP in the last year, according to newly published results. Of these, three-quarters had been unable to enrol on the PrEP Impact Trial and 82% reported having had condomless sex in the past six months.
- Over half of respondents (54%) were getting PrEP from the English IMPACT trial and 5% from another health service PrEP programme. Most of the remaining 37% were obtaining PrEP privately - either online, buying it privately at clinics, or through informal sources such as friends.
- Of those who had used PrEP during the year, 18% had now stopped using it. The most common reasons for stopping were either not having sex (36%) or being in a closed relationship (23%). However, 24% of discontinuers had stopped PrEP because they could not afford it, and 22% because they had difficulty accessing it (22%). More than one reason could be given.
The survey shows that demand for PrEP is not being met, campaigners say. A joint statement from the British HIV Association (BHIVA) and the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) said: “It is shocking that the Impact Trial is reaching only half of the current PrEP users.” It adds that “unnecessary and completely preventable new cases of HIV will continue to occur needlessly” while people at risk are unable to access PrEP.
The survey was carried out from May to July 2019 by PrEPster and iwantPrEPnow, in association with Public Health England. There were 2389 respondents, of whom 92% identified as gay men and 6% as bisexual men.