Number of places on PrEP trial to double but no date set

  • Jo Whelan
  • Medical News
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  • The NHS has agreed to fund 13,000 new places on the PreP Impact Trial
  • Campaigners are angry as the Trial Oversight Board delays final approval

The number of places on the PrEP Impact Trial could double from 13,000 to 26,000. NHS England has agreed to fund the increase, which was requested by the trial researchers. However, the Trial Oversight Board, whilst supporting the new places in principle, has delayed final approval.

The trial is the only way that people in England can access PrEP on the NHS. The current cap on places means that some participating clinics now have to turn away people seeking PrEP. There are no limitations on the numbers who can access PrEP in the rest of the UK.

Campaigners are angry at the delay. The National Aids Trust said: “We now face the imminent end of access to PrEP in England, in particular for gay and bisexual men. The Secretary of State must immediately get to grips with this dangerous muddle. The PrEP Impact Trial must have enough places now to mean no one is turned away.”

NHS England said the trial is proving a huge success, with the speed of recruitment and the demand for PrEP significantly exceeding initial expert predictions. It says that the extra places “will help ensure the learning from the trial is robust enough to fully inform the planning of a national PrEP programme in partnership with local authorities for the future, as well as protecting more people from HIV right now”.

Part of the rationale for the increase is to address emerging questions from the trial about the need for PrEP amongst women and heterosexual men.

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