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New places for the PrEP Impact Trial will now start to be released following agreement at the PrEP Oversight Board.
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.
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.
Before finalising arrangements and releasing places, participating clinics and Local Authority commissioners, were asked to confirm if they had the capacity to take on additional places. Around 80% of participating clinics have confirmed they have the capacity to accept additional trial places and the majority of sites have also received approval from their Local Authority commissioners to proceed.
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.
John Stewart, 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”.
For more information on the PrEP Impact trial and participating clinics visit the trial website: www.prepimpacttrial.org.uk