Public Health Wales has said that HIV prevention through Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) has received an encouraging response after its first year of being delivered through the NHS.
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) programme was initiated by Welsh Health boards in July 2017 through sexual health clinics for a 3-year study period. PrEP involves providing antiretroviral medication to at-risk, uninfected individuals to prevent them from acquiring HIV. Public Health Wales and an independent HIV expert group are jointly conducting the study to evaluate the acceptability and efficacy of PrEP.
During the first year of implementation (July 2017-June 2018), 559 individuals received the PrEP treatment, and none contracted HIV. Wales has an advantage over England in having a national approach to PrEP and HIV prevention. England still lacks a national approach and is struggling to raise funds for PrEP through a charity. PrEP is an important part of the larger strategy to lower the rates of new HIV infections. There was a 24% decline in new HIV cases in the last quarter of 2017 compared with the last quarter of 2016.
Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething, has also approved funding for other interventions targeting sexual health in Wales such as a pilot for online sexually transmitted infection testing and a project to provide self-sampling HIV tests to those attending for PrEP clinics.