One in 4 gay Englishmen cannot get PrEP

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A study by Public Health England has discovered that nearly a quarter of gay men seeking preventative anti-HIV drug PrEP are unable to get it, especially when it comes to rural and suburban areas, out of big cities like London. PrEP drug Truvada has been available on the NHS in England since last year as part of the IMPACT trial. However, a study conducted with PrEP access groups PrEPster and IWantPrEPNow found that approximately 25% (393 of 1171) of gay Englishmen who required the drug just could not get it due to various factors. Of the men who had failed to access PrEP, 72 percent lived outside London – with only half of overall survey respondents living outside the capital, this means that men outside the capital are almost twice less likely to get PrEP (especially in Northern regions) as Londoners. his continues the ‘postcode lottery’ approach to PrEP provision where the drug is available directly on the NHS in Scotland, on trial in England and at a limited number of sexual health clinics in Wales, while Northern Ireland has no NHS provision for PrEP. That the chances of accessing PrEP on the NHS even in England are so unbalanced is extremely disappointing but unsurprising, according to PrEPster’s Marc Thompson, who thinks that the problem could be solved only if people in suburban and rural areas were educated and informed about PrEP as an option for the risk groups.

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