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

PrEP should now be available wherever you live in the UK.

  • NHS Scotland provides free PrEP to anyone at risk who lives in Scotland.
    For more details see: www.prep.scot
  • NHS Wales 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 provides PrEP free on the NHS. This was initially as part of the Impact trial (prepimpacttrial.org.uk) but in 2020 PrEP was approved across England.
  • PrEP is available in Northern Ireland in a two-year project.
    https://www.rainbow-project.org/how-to-access-prep-in-ni

Many people still buy PrEP privately 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 2020.