NHS England has announced that it will now start to release additional spaces on its PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV) Impact Trial, following an agreement to double the number of places on the trial from 13,000 to 26,000.
In January 2019, following a request from the trial’s researchers, NHS England agreed in principle to fund the expansion. But its PrEP Trial Oversight Board wanted time to study how the proposed expansion would be implemented, including obtaining assurances from participating clinics that they had the capacity to take on more places.
In a statement published on 28 February 2019, the NHS said that around 80% of participating clinics had confirmed that they can accept additional trial places. It added that the “majority of sites” had received permission to go ahead from their local authority commissioners. In London, however, commissioners — while welcoming the expansion and agreeing to accept more places — had asked for more time to decide just how many more places they can take.
The trial oversight board has, the statement said, asked London to “confirm numbers as soon as possible … in order that places can progress to release”.
In a report published at the end of February 2019, NHS National Services Scotland said that uptake of PrEP has “exceeded predictions”. In July 2017, Scotland became the first in the world to provide widespread state-funded access to the HIV prophylaxis. In the 12 months that followed, 1,872 people were prescribed PrEP at least once, it said.
Of those prescribed PrEP, the HIV incidence between July 2017 and July 2018 was between 0.1% and 0.4%, the report said.