Two years after HIV prevention drug PrEP became available on the NHS in England, significant barriers remain for those trying to access it.
Two-thirds (65%) of those who wanted the drug were unable to get it, according to research conducted by the National AIDS Trust, Terrence Higgins Trust, PrEPster, Sophia Forum and One Voice Network.
The most common waiting time for a PrEP appointment at a sexual health clinic was 12 weeks (35%), with more than half (57%) of respondents waiting longer than this to get one.
More than two in 10 (23%) were even turned away due to a lack of available appointments. It comes as the UK Health Security Agency reports that seven people are being diagnosed with HIV each day in England. “My constituency in Lambeth has the highest prevalence of HIV in the country and it’s unacceptable that PrEP isn’t having the impact it should in protecting those who need it against HIV,” said Florence Eshalomi, Co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on HIV and AIDS. “This powerful report shows we need action from the Government to remove the significant barriers to PrEP access for those who are clamouring for it – never mind the crucial work necessary to promote the huge benefits to the people and communities who still don’t know nearly enough about PrEP.” People trying to access PrEP for the first time faced the biggest hurdles in doing so, with a staggering 68% reporting issues with getting it.