A consortium of HIV charities is calling on the public to support an initiative to get PrEP available to everyone who needs it.

PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a daily dose of the HIV drug Truvada, and has been proved to be effective in stopping HIV. However, the NHS is still considering whether and how to make it available.

Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of NAT, said: ‘HIV and sexual health are too easily side-lined or ignored by politicians and decision-makers. This community statement on PrEP is our chance to get our voices heard – to say that PrEP works, is urgently needed and that the NHS must make it available without delay.’

Casper Thomson, Executive Director of NAM, said: ‘The evidence shows that, when taken as recommended, PrEP prevents the transmission of HIV. This is an important new addition to the range of prevention options. If we are to see significant reductions in HIV rates, we must make PrEP available within the NHS. It cannot be acceptable for people to get HIV who would have been protected had they had access to PrEP.’

Research suggests that PrEP is as effective as condoms in preventing HIV transmission, as long as it is taken as prescribed, without missing doses. Results from studies in the UK and France showed that PrEP reduced infections among gay men by 86 per cent. In these studies, there have been no instances of someone who was actually taking PrEP acquiring HIV.

Greg Mitchell, a participant on the UK PrEP study, said about his experience taking PrEP: ‘It was the removal of anxiety and that is something I cannot quantify and which I cannot get across to people enough. We have to create a demand. If there’s no demand, we won’t get it. We have to be vocal about it.’

You can sign the statement in support of PrEP at prepaccess.org.uk.