PrEP

What is PrEP?

PrEP (Pre- exposure prophylaxis) is a preventative medicine taken by a HIV negative individual who is at higher risk of acquiring HIV to reduce the risk of HIV infection. 

PrEP is in the form of a pill which contains antiretroviral drugs – the same type of drug that is taken by someone who already has HIV to treat HIV.  

Who would benefit from PrEP?

  • PrEP is for people who are HIV negative and have sex in a variety of situations where condoms are not easily or always used.
  • PrEP can have huge emotional and physiological benefits for HIV negative people who, for whatever reason, might be struggling to maintain their HIV negative status. 
  • Using PrEP not only protects you from HIV but all of your HIV negative partners too. We know that people who think they are HIV negative but haven't had a HIV test in a while, who have recently picked up the virus and don't know it yet are the most likely people to pass on HIV due to having a detectable and possibly very high viral load.
  • You do not need PrEP if you are having sex with a HIV positive partner who is undetectable where this person is your only sexual partner. People already living with HIV, on treatment for 6 months, who take their medication as prescribed and have an undetectable viral load cannot pass on the virus during sex – even without condoms. 
  • Being on PrEP means that you do not have to worry about the status of your partner(s), since you are protecting yourself.

How can I access PrEP?

PrEP is not available for free as a routine service on the NHS at the moment but NHS England have launched the PrEP Impact Trial to assess who could benefit from using PrEP; how people from different communities will choose to use PrEP; for how long; and if it is cost-effective. 

The PrEP Impact Trial will enrol 10,000 participants at high-risk of acquiring HIV and many clinics have begun recruiting across Greater Manchester and Leeds.  Clinics have been allocated a small number of trial places and will not be able to enrol all residents who could benefit from, or would like to use, PrEP.

You must be eligible to participant in the trial. PrEP will be offered to individuals considered to be at high risk of HIV acquisition.  The criteria are:

  • HIV-negative people who have HIV positive partners that are not on effective treatment 
  • Heterosexual people who are considered to be at high risk of HIV acquisition.
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM);
  • Trans men and trans women;

 You may be able to take part if: 

  • You are HIV negative
  • You are over the age of 16 
  • You are considered to be at high risk of HIV 
  • You are willing to adhere to the recommended PrEP regimen and re-attend the clinic every 3 months

 You may not be able to take part if: 

  • You have an illness that could be due to HIV, you would need to wait until it has been confirmed that you don’t have HIV 
  • You are taking any medication that wouldn’t react well with PrEP 

A person’s nationality or immigration status will not affect their ability to participate in the trail as long as they are ordinarily a resident in England. 

Unlike some other NHS services, there are no immigration or nationality restrictions on accessing services provided by GUM clinics in England. This is because of the wider public health benefit of everyone being able to freely access sexual health treatment and prevention services and advice. The trial will follow the same principles.

Anyone prescribed PrEP will need to visit a sexual health clinic four times a year for as long as they are participating in the project, in addition to an initial assessment/ consultation.

Please note there are limited places available on the trial and dedicated waiting lists are already in place across some sites. To be added to the waiting list or to find out if there are likely to still be places available please contact your relevant sexual health clinic.  For clinics across Greater Manchester and Leeds, please click here.

For information about Prep in Leeds, please click here http://leedssexualhealth.com/wheretogo/hiv-prep-pre-exposure-prophylaxis-for-hiv.

If you're HIV negative and not currently able to access PrEP trial, you can purchase a course of PrEP (28 days of medication) from a website called iWantPrEPNow.com from £37.