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HIV/AIDS

Three-year PrEP pilot begins in Wales

A trial has begun in Wales to assess the use of the antiretroviral combination treatment emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil (marketed as Truvada) for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) against HIV infection.

Announced on 28 April 2017 by Welsh health secretary, Vaughan Gething, the study aims to show the best way to provide the preventive treatment to reduce the risk of HIV transmission in Wales. It is also hoped the pilot will help answer questions raised by the All-Wales Medicines Strategy Group about the cost-effectiveness of PrEP.

Sarah Fuhrmann, national director for the Terrence Higgins Trust in Wales, described the pilot as a “vital step” towards helping to stop HIV transmissions in Wales.

“Today is an exciting day as it marks the beginning of the three-year PrEP pilot in Wales, which will see this game-changing HIV prevention tool made available to people who need it in Wales,” she says.

“The roll-out is going to be staggered across individual clinics, but from today, people at risk of HIV in Wales can start the process of protecting themselves against HIV by making an appointment at their local GUM clinic to talk about PrEP.

“If you think you are at risk of HIV and may benefit from PrEP, we would advise that you enquire at your GUM clinic so you will have access to this highly effective prevention treatment as soon as it is available in your region,” Fuhrmann adds.

In December 2016, NHS England announced a similar trial, due to start early in the 2017–2018 financial year. The announcement was made after NHS England lost its Appeal Court action, [1]which challenged an earlier High Court ruling that NHS England has the power, although not the obligation, to fund PrEP. NHS England will wait for the outcome of the trial before potentially rolling out the provision of PrEP nationwide.

In Scotland, the use of Truvada for PrEP on the NHS was approved by the Scottish Medicines Consortium on 10 April 2017.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20203202

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