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PrEP Impact Trial

Volume 654: debated on Tuesday 19 February 2019

1. What discussions he has had with (a) NHS England, (b) Public Health England and (c) local authorities on ensuring that the Government’s commitment to double the number of places on the PrEP impact trial can be implemented in all trial sites as soon as possible. (909299)

On 30 January, we announced that we will increase access to PrEP, doubling the number of people who can receive this potentially life-saving HIV prevention drug.

Funding for HIV prevention has become quite complex, with a complex mix of central funding and local authority funding. Cities such as Brighton and Hove still have the highest contraction rates outside London. Will the Secretary of State meet me and the Terrence Higgins Trust to understand how that is impacting us on the frontline and tell us what more can be done?

Of course I would be delighted to meet the hon. Gentleman to discuss this matter. In the long-term plan, we made it clear that we are looking at commissioning arrangements for sexual health services. I am delighted that the number of new cases of HIV has been falling and that we have been able to declare that by 2030 we want the UK to have zero AIDS. That is an achievable, but hard, goal, and I will work with anybody to make it happen.

Does the Secretary of State share the widespread concern about the variation in availability of PrEP treatment, which is surely an unacceptable situation?

There is a variability in availability. Of course the current model of delivery is a trial—we have doubled the size of that trial but it is still a trial that runs until 2021. I am very happy to work with my hon. Friend as well as with the hon. Member for Hove (Peter Kyle) to try to make sure that it is as available as possible.

Hammersmith is one of the sites that is now closed. When will PrEP be made freely available? Here we have a drug that has almost 100% effectiveness and that will save money for the NHS through HIV protection. When will we see it available to anyone who needs it?

As I have said, last month we doubled the availability of PrEP, which is an important step in the right direction.

Colchester is one of the sites that is now closed to men who have sex with men who want to access the HIV prevention drug PrEP. When will the Government’s commitment, made almost three weeks ago, to double the number of places on the PrEP trial be implemented across all trial sites?

It is being implemented as we speak. I am very happy to talk to my hon. Friend about when it will be rolled out in Colchester.

I welcome the Government’s commitment to end the transmission of HIV in England by 2030. However, HIV reduction was not mentioned in either the prevention plan or the long-term plan. How will the Government reach that ambitious goal without a concerted and fully costed strategy?

We do have a concerted and fully costed strategy. Indeed, I have given the commitment of ending new AIDS cases by 2030 with a plan around that. The long-term plan goes into detail about new ways of commissioning sexual health services. This is a very important area, and, as the hon. Lady says, it is an important part of the prevention agenda, and we will make sure that we get it right.

Order. Before we proceed further, I hope that colleagues on both sides of the House will want to join me in extending a very warm welcome to Democratic New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan, who is with us today. Welcome to you, Sir: we are delighted to have you.