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No new cases of HIV among people in Wales taking PrEP

Vaughan Gething, the Welsh minister for health and social services

Vaughan Gething, the Welsh minister for health and social services, said he was “delighted” that access to PrEP was now “fully embedded” into sexual health services

None of the more than 1,000 people in Wales who have received pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) since it became routinely available from sexual health services in July 2017 have developed HIV while receiving the drugs.

The statistics were revealed in a written statement by Vaughan Gething, the Welsh minister for health and social services, on 17 July 2019 who said he was “delighted” that access to PrEP was now “fully embedded” into sexual health services.

Gething announced that Public Health Wales and Cardiff University were now looking in more detail at the reasons behind people’s decision to refuse PrEP, which he admitted were “complex”. The government figures showed that 24% of people attending sexual health services and who are eligible for PrEP decline it.

Some 17% of people who were eligible for PrEP were previously unknown to the services and at least eight people had contracted HIV while they were assessed for PrEP, Gething said.

Offering PrEP routinely has also helped identify other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that have been on the rise in Wales, he added.

Of those people taking PrEP, there were 380 STI “episodes”, including 176 cases of gonorrhoea and 34 cases of syphilis.

Gething also revealed that the Welsh government is extending the six-month pilot project it set up in September 2018 offering online STI testing service in Hywel Dda University Health Board for another six months.

A further pilot providing self-testing for chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis in Welsh prisons is also being established. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206834

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