Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login


More than a quarter of sexual health clinics closed to new PrEP trial places

Despite a promised expansion of 13,000 places, Seema Kennedy has revealed that 38 of the 147 sites taking part in the PrEP Impact Trial are closed to some new recruits to the trial.

PrEP drug Truvada


PrEP is made up of two medicines, tenofovir and emtricitabine, marketed as Truvada

More than a quarter of the sexual health clinics involved in NHS England’s PrEP [pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV] Impact Trial are currently closed to some new recruits, despite a promised expansion, a health minister has revealed.

In a written parliamentary answer on the progress being made on doubling the number of places in the PrEP Impact Trial to 26,000, health minister Seema Kennedy said that 38 of the 147 sites involved are currently not open to recruitment for men who have sex with men. The sites remain open for other groups seeking access to PrEP. 

“It is understood that the range of reasons [for the closures to new recruits to the trial] include temporary staffing or premise issues, capacity and local authority commissioner approval,” she wrote.

NHS England announced in March 2019 that it would start to expand access to the PrEP Impact Trial following a request to do so by the trial’s researchers.

This decision had been delayed from January 2019 as the trial’s oversight board wanted to obtain assurances from participating clinics they had sufficient capacity to take on more places.

Kennedy’s admission follows the publication of the the House of Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee’s ‘Sexual Health’ report on 2 June 2019, which warned that there is “huge frustration” around current inequitable access to PrEP.

“We note that NHS England has expanded its pilot sites to increase the number of people able to benefit from PrEP, but access remains a postcode lottery,” the report said.

PrEP involves users taking two medicines, tenofovir and emtricitabine (marketed as Truvada), which have been shown to protect HIV-negative people from acquiring HIV. The Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charity, said there were particular issues around access to PrEP in London.

Debbie Laycock, head of policy at the charity, commented: “It has been nearly five months since health secretary Matt Hancock pledged to double places on the trial, but this has still not happened across all sites.

“In London, which continues to account for the largest number of new HIV diagnoses every year, councils have only agreed to an increase [in places] of 60%.

“This coupled with the fact that the city’s largest sexual health clinics are no longer accepting any additional places and therefore turning away people at increased risk of HIV, is simply unsustainable.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206728

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Pharmaceutical Toxicology

    Pharmaceutical Toxicology

    Explains the methodology and requirements of pre-clinical safety assessments of new medicines. Includes registration requirements and pharmacovigilance.

    £40.00Buy now
  • Sport and Exercise Medicine for Pharmacists

    Sport and Exercise Medicine for Pharmacists

    All the information you need to provide patients with evidence-based advice on sports and exercise related health matters.

    £27.00Buy now
  • Further MCQs in Pharmacy Practice

    Further MCQs in Pharmacy Practice

    Further MCQs in Pharmacy Practice contains 600 practice-oriented pharmacy exam questions. Includes both open- and closed-book sections.

    £30.00Buy now
  • Paediatric Drug Handling

    Paediatric Drug Handling

    Written for new pharmaceutical scientists, this book provides a background in paediatric pharmacy and a comprehensive introduction to children's medication.

    £33.00Buy now
  • Popular Medicines

    Popular Medicines

    An illustrated history of some of the most popular branded medicines. Includes colourful historical adverts and details of the medicine's formula and intended purpose.

    £22.00Buy now
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Jobs you might like

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.