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Implementation of the PrEP Impact trial has been a huge success with over 10,000 participants already enrolled in this important HIV prevention measure.
But, the speed of recruitment and demand for PrEP has significantly exceeded initial expert predictions and the trial researchers now consider that more places should be made available. They argue that recruitment needs to 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. They have also said that the increase will be important for addressing emerging questions from the trial about the need for PrEP amongst women and other groups.
As a result, an official request has been made by the researchers to increase the number of participants to the end of the trial in 2020 from 13,000 to up to 26,000.
NHS England is supportive of the researchers’ proposal and will play its part by committing to fund additional places in line with existing trial funding arrangements.
Implementation of the detailed proposal submitted by the researchers will be considered later this month by the Trial Oversight Board, which includes representatives from Public Health England, local authorities and community groups, alongside NHS England.
John Stewart, Director of Specialised Commissioning at NHS England said: “Through the PrEP trial, over 10,000 people are already receiving access to this important HIV prevention measure. The trial researchers have submitted a case for increasing trial places and NHS England will play its part in delivering on this recommendation by committing to fund additional places in line with existing funding arrangements. This 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”.
It will continue to be for individual local authorities to decide how many additional places they wish to take up and to give the green light to clinics to expand recruitment.
For more information on the PrEP Impact trial and participating clinics visit the trial website: www.prepimpacttrial.org.uk.