Today the Department of Health and Social Care announced that £16 million will be made available to local authorities in England for the routine commissioning of PrEP this coming financial year.
Until now the proven HIV prevention drug was only available through the NHS funded IMPACT Trial, established to test how to deliver PrEP.
Dr Greg Ussher, METRO CEO, said:
"We are delighted that following continued pressure from activists and organisation like ourselves, and of course the campaign led by the National AIDS Trust, that PrEP will finally be freely available to all those who need it in England.
"PrEP is a key tool within a range of approaches to help us end HIV transmission.
"We are keen to ensure that all at risk groups, beyond those gay and bisexual men already engaged in the trial, such as women and non-binary people, have information and access to PrEP. We take very seriously our role in helping achieve this, drawing on our extensive experience in sexual health and HIV outreach both within the charity and across our partnerships."
This new funding will be in addition to the public health grant received by local authorities, which funds sexual health services.
Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust), said:
“With less than a month to go before the new financial year and in the context of enormous pressure on our health and social care system right now, it’s extremely difficult for councils to plan their sexual health services.
“We are very concerned that access to PrEP will be patchy, with some communities struggling to get it at first. Those clinics already involved in the PrEP IMPACT Trial will be more prepared than others to deliver a comprehensive PrEP programme.
“We will be working with colleagues across the system to support effective planning to reduce access inequality.
“This announcement only covers a one-year period (2020-21) and work must begin immediately to make sure we don’t face further uncertainty in a year’s time. We cannot rest on our laurels, there’s a long way to go until we have a sustainable funding solution that not only covers the cost of PrEP but ensures it reaches every single person who needs it.”