Positively UK welcomes the findings from PROUD and IPERGAY studies, which demonstrate the high effectiveness of using Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) as an effective tool for HIV prevention and promoting the health of gay men and men who have sex with men.
HIV transmissions continue to rise within the UK demonstrating that current interventions alone are not effective and new resources are required.
Positively UK joins other UK based HIV and LGBT organisations in urging the NHS to speed up the approval process and make PrEP available.
HIV is a complex area and achieving good sexual health for all requires a range of interventions, this include but are not limited to sex and reproductive education at appropriate ages including within schools, condom distribution, psychosexual support, Treatment as Prevention for people living with HIV, health and social care to reduce risk and vulnerability. Interventions must also address the wider determinates of health and behaviour such as poverty, mental health, and drug and alcohol use. PrEP is one intervention within a larger toolkit as a means to reduce rising HIV transmissions. Only when all these tools are sufficiently resourced will we tackle HIV.
Positively UK urges more research to be undertaken on the implementation of PrEP on key populations and other vulnerable groups such as women and migrants.
Education around PrEP is necessary both to raise awareness and to ensure people can make informed choices, including implications of its long-term use. There is also a need to support longitudinal studies including impact on maternal health, toxicity and resistance. It is crucial that people who choose to use ARV’s for prevention have the information and support to understand the potential impacts of both its short-term and long-term use.