BASHH statement on the NHSE update on commissioning and provision of PrEP for HIV prevention

24th March 2016

The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) expresses concern and deep disappointment at NHS England’s decision not to put pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) forward for commissioning, despite it being a safe and effective treatment intervention, which has been shown to prevent HIV acquisition amongst at-risk groups in the UK.

NHS England made a surprise announcement on 21 March 2016 that instead it would provide up to £2 million over the next two years to run a number of early implementer test sites. This would allow only a restricted number of 500 more men, at high risk of HIV infection, to receive treatment.

Commenting on NHS England’s announcement, BASHH President, Dr Elizabeth Carlin said:

NHS England’s decision not to commission PrEP is extremely worrying, particularly at this late stage in the process, and especially considering the unacceptably high rates of newly acquired HIV infections in men who have sex with men (MSM) in the UK.

The UK PROUD study showed PrEP to be highly effective in reducing onward transmission of HIV in MSM. However, the decision to provide funding for only a restricted number of ‘at-high-risk’ men is likely to have little long-term impact on the UK HIV epidemic and will introduce a post code lottery for those accessing this important intervention.

It is vital that the government invests in public health and HIV prevention by establishing a long-term commitment to fund and deliver PrEP to all those who need it.
Dr Elizabeth Carlin, BASHH President

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