PrEP recommended by NHS England (at last)

Simon Collins, HIV i-Base

On 15 March 2020, as the UK response to COVID-19 was becoming more critical, many health activists were surprised, in a good way, with a government announcement that PrEP would be available from NHS England. [1]

This included that local authorities will receive £16 million in 2020 to 2021 to deliver PrEP. The funding from the Department of Health and Social Care is to make sure that anyone who is at a high risk of contracting HIV has the option to receive PrEP from their local sexual health clinic.

This will also cover people enrolled in the last few months of the PrEP IMPACT trial, which is due to close on October 2020.

This access to PrEP was driven by health activists from all sectors: community, health workers, researchers and doctors. However, it still took more than five years after the UK PROUD study proved overwhelming PrEP efficacy in 2014. [2]

It is also almost four years after NHS England lost the legal challenge brought by the National AIDS Trust. [3]

Earlier access to PrEP could easily have prevented the many thousands of people who became HIV positive.


Although this was announced a few weeks ago, it is still important to include in this issue of HTB.

A coalition of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) organisations, while welcoming the availability of PrEP called for new initiatives to broaden access to PrEP.

The rate of late diagnosis amongst black African heterosexual men rose to 69% in 2017 from 59% in 2015, in contrast to the overall late diagnosis rate which has fallen. 


  1. UK government. HIV drug PrEP to be available across England. (15 March 2020).
  2. UK PROUD study to provide PrEP to all participants earlier than expected: planned follow-up to continue to two years. HTB (1 December 2014).
  3. NHS England had no legal basis to delay PrEP: Court of Appeal upholds judgement. HTB (26 November 2016).
  4. PrEP in England – A statement on PrEP provision for Black and other minority ethnic and other non-MSM groups. (14 October 2020).

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.