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Government publishes plan to make PrEP more widely available

NHS & health news

Government publishes plan to make PrEP more widely available

The Government has published a plan to make PrEP more widely available to people at significant risk of contracting HIV.

The plan builds on its HIV action plan from three years ago which set out a target of reducing diagnoses by 80 per cent by 2025 by increasing access of the drug for at-risk populations outside of specialist sexual health services (SHSs). The government has stated its ambition is to end new HIV transmissions in England by 2030.

The latest roadmap makes five proposals. Fund SHSs including PrEP services and HIV PrEP medicines; Improve interventions to tackle inequalities in HIV PrEP access, uptake and use; Promote awareness of PrEP among key groups at significant risk of HIV; Improve access to PrEP in specialist SHSs; And improve access in settings other than specialist SHSs.

It also said national health bodies should work with in local commissioners to commission a series of pilots providing PrEP in settings outside specialist sexual health clinics, such as online services, pharmacies and GP practices.

The Government pledged to give local councils £3.6 billion for 2024-25 to implement “a wide range of public health services including sexual health services” and said NHS England will continue funding PrEP medicines “through its specialist commissioning team.”

However, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s director for England, James Davies, said “the apparent lack of progress in widening community access to PrEP is very disappointing, given the clear evidence of the value that local pharmacies can provide.”

“It is essential that PrEP access is expanded to include community pharmacy settings to allow individuals to more readily access this crucial preventive measure,” he added.

“Efforts to improve PrEP access must be re-energised and include pharmacy as a key partner, to enhance public health outcomes and reduce health inequalities.”

The government said its roadmap was informed by research from the English HIV and Sexual Health Commissioners Group which looked at the barriers preventing black African women, trans and non-binary people and sex workers from using PrEP.

The Group found there was a range of issues that hindered their access to the drug, including language barriers, lack of awareness of PrEP, poor marketing of the drug that contributed to HIV stigma and poor communication from healthcare providers.


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