On 26 February 2019, Health Protection Scotland (HPS) published the ‘Implementation of HIV PrEP in Scotland: First Year Report’ on behalf of the HIV PrEP National Coordination Group. This report describes the implementation, monitoring, uptake and some preliminary data on outcomes from the first year of the HIV PrEP service.
Scotland is one of the first countries worldwide to have successfully established a HIV PrEP (HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) service which is national, free and, to date, generally accessible to most deemed at highest risk of acquiring HIV.
HIV PrEP is an effective, novel, prophylactic biomedical intervention comprised of two HIV antiretroviral drugs. It is prescribed, as part of a comprehensive approach to HIV prevention, to HIV-negative persons at risk of infection, in particular men who have sex with men (MSM). HIV PrEP became available officially in sexual health clinics throughout the country, following approval of Truvada™ for use within NHS Scotland by the Scottish Medicines Consortium.
Implementation has been very successful with 1,872 individuals, 99% of whom are MSM, being prescribed PrEP at least once in the first year of the Scottish NHS PrEP programme in 11 of the 14 NHS boards. Importantly, around one-fifth of those prescribed PrEP attended sexual health services for the very first time or for the first time in the previous 10 years. While it is too early to draw informed conclusions on the impact of PrEP on HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, the early signs, in relation to HIV, are favourable.