In response to the proposal that the number of places on the PrEP Impact Trial be doubled (a 100% increase), London Councils announced today that they have agreed to accept 60% of the additional PrEP places. This contrasts with the majority of commissioners outside London who have accepted all of the places which were offered.
Fourteen of the 23 London clinics currently have no places available for gay and bisexual men. The result is men needing PrEP are being turned away. Some will go on to acquire HIV as a result. The additional places agreed by London’s councils will mean clinics can re-open which is very welcome, but campaigners warn that this temporary measure will not be enough to ensure all at-risk people can access the drug in months to come.
Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust), said: “The overdue decision by London’s sexual health commissioners to accept 60% of the additional PrEP places on offer will, in the short term, mean a welcome reopening of clinics to gay and bisexual men in need of PrEP.
“However, London’s councils need to ensure that sexual health clinics never again shut their doors to people in need of PrEP. The refusal to accept the remaining 40% of new PrEP places is deeply worrying, risking simply postponing for a few months yet another crisis in PrEP access for gay and bisexual men in the capital. We urge London’s councils to accept the remaining 40% of places as a matter of urgency and work with the community to ensure the Government supports a properly funded, uncapped national PrEP programme as soon as possible.”