Guides

Introduction and access to PrEP in the UK – including PrEP and coronavirus

NOTE: please scroll down to see information about PrEP and COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Introduction

This is a UK guide to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).

PrEP currently refers to a pill containing two HIV drugs: tenofovir plus emtricitabine.

When taken correctly, PrEP greatly reduces the risk of HIV sexual transmission.

Access to PrEP in the UK

Free access to PrEP depends on where you live in the UK.

  • NHS Scotland now provides free PrEP to anyone at risk who lives in Scotland.
    For more details see: www.prep.scot
  • NHS Wales now provides PrEP for anyone at risk who lives in Wales. This is a three year initial programme. Although access refers to being within a study call PrEPARED, this doesn’t involve active participation. It just means that anonymised information will be used to decide future access.
    For more details see: www.friskywales.org/wales-prep-project.html
  • NHS England only currently provides PrEP as part of the Impact trial. This study will enrol up to 26,000 people. It started in September 2017 and will run for three years.
    Each of the approximately 200 clinic sites is allocated a limited number of places.
    For more details see: prepimpacttrial.org.uk
  • PrEP is available in Northern Ireland in a two-year project.
    https://www.rainbow-project.org/how-to-access-prep-in-ni
  • The Mags Portman PrEP Access Fund at the THT will provide vouchers for free PrEP for up to 1000 people.
    https://www.tht.org.uk/our-services/online-services/mags-portman-prep-access-fund

Many people buy PrEP online or from Dean Street PrEP Shop (dean.st/prepshop). The rough cost (at time of printing) is less then £20 for 30 tablets.

PrEP shop is also available from the John Hunter Clinic at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in west London.
(https://www.chelwest.nhs.uk/services/hiv-sexual-health/clinics/john-hunter-clinic-for-sexual-health/prep-shop-at-jhc)

PrEP and COVID-19 (coronavirus) – March 2020

PrEP meds will still be available through the coronavirus health crisis. However, most PrEP clinics will be rearranging services to protect your health and reduce risk of further cases of COVID-19.

This will likely mean testing less frequently for HIV and STIs, but PrEP will still be safe and effective.

However, the urgency of social physical isolation also includes limiting physical interactions with new sexual partners.

This isn’t going to be easy but it will protect both your health and the wider community – especially during the weeks from the end of March and the first weeks of April 2020.

For more information on PrEP and coronavirus, please see this information from HIV Scotland that i-Base contributed to.

Sensible advice on sex and COVID-19 is included in the link from NYC.

Updated March 2020.

Last updated: 1 November 2019.