Supply of PrEP in pharmacies will be examined from the autumn
The Government will start exploring from this autumn whether pre-exposure prophylaxis should be made available through community pharmacies and other settings outside of sexual and reproductive health services.
The minister for vaccines and public health Maggie Throup told parliament that work on the HIV Action Plan, which aims to achieve zero new HIV infections and AIDS and HIV-related deaths in England by 2030, will begin shortly and will be informed by research currently being carried out by the English HIV and Sexual Health Commissioners’ Group on the barriers to people accessing PrEP.
She said the plan will examine how the distribution of PrEP to gay and bisexual men, Black African communities, women, migrant communities and other groups can be improved.
“This plan will consider provision in settings beyond sexual and reproductive health services, such as in community pharmacy,” she said.
According to the National AIDS Trust, 4,139 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2019 but new diagnoses have fallen by 34 per cent since 2014 when there were 6,312 new diagnoses.
The Government said it will bring together “partners across the health system and beyond” to ensure everyone at risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV can access testing, treatment and care.
It wants to reduce the number of people first diagnosed in England from 2,860 in 2019 to less than 600 by 2025 and reduce the number of people diagnosed with AIDS within three months of a HIV diagnosis from 219 to under 110.
Last year, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society urged the Government to make pre-exposure prophylaxis available in community pharmacies across the UK.