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HIV prevention trials set to expand

NHS England gives go-ahead for 11,000 more people for PrEP trials

Mark Gould

Monday, 04 March 2019

Over 11,000 more people are to be recruited to take part in a new phase of testing of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)* to lower the chances of infection with HIV.

Implementation of the PrEP Impact trial has been a huge success with over 11,500 participants already enrolled in this important HIV prevention measure.


With the speed of recruitment and need for PrEP significantly exceeding initial expert predictions, the trial researchers argued the trial should be doubled in size to up to 26,000 places so that recruitment could reach a “steady state’ in order to ensure the trial can robustly and scientifically inform the design and rollout of a full national programme in partnership with local authorities.

John Stewart, the director of specialised commissioning at NHS England said: “Through the PrEP trial, over 11,500 people are already receiving access to this important HIV prevention measure.

“This expansion will help ensure the learning from the trial is robust enough to fully inform the planning of a national PrEP programme in partnership with local authorities for the future, as well as protecting more people from HIV right now”.

In January, the PrEP Oversight Board confirmed its agreement in principle to double the number of places available on the PrEP Impact trial following expert recommendations by researchers but wanted more information on the impact on services.

NHS England has already committed to provide funding for the PrEP drug and research costs for up to 26,000 individuals, based on the current terms.

Commissioners in London welcome and support the trial expansion. They have agreed to accept additional places but requested more time to confirm and agree what proportion of their full indicative allocation they have the capacity to accept. The Programme Oversight Board has asked London commissioners to confirm numbers as soon as possible and this is being considered as a matter of priority by London authorities in order that places can progress to release.

In the meantime, for trial sites outside of London, the research team will now make rapid arrangements to release the extra places when all necessary approvals have been obtained.

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