A NEW treatment to prevent people catching HIV is being trialled across the region.

The new treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is a course of anti-HIV drugs that, if used correctly, allows people to have sex with HIV-positive people without catching the disease themselves.

The medical trial is to be rolled out to 110 people across Berkshire. The trial has been recruiting participants at the Garden Clinic, Slough, and the Florey Clinic in Reading. The drug is being made available to 10,000 people nationally.

Typically, users will take one tablet per day, but can also take a short one-off course of three tablets, that spans from up to two days before to two days after a sexual encounter, to protect themselves from the disease.

PrEP is already available on the NHS in Wales and Scotland, and is expected become available in England in the coming years. This follows NHS England losing a High Court appeal in 2016, in which the organisation was attempting to argue that it should be the duty of the local authority to fund PrEP.

Previous scientific trials have shown the treatment to be highly effective. The consultant for public health at Public Health Services for Berkshire, Jo Jefferies, said: “HIV is still an important public health issue in the UK, and despite much hard work the number of new infections has remained steady over the past few years.

“PrEP is a very effective drug therapy, that can be used as part of a holistic package of interventions including condom use, increased HIV testing and earlier antiviral treatment – enabling people living with HIV to suppress the virus level in their system to such an extent that they are no longer infectious.

“Providing it to those at highest risk of HIV through the NHS is a sensible and cost effective commissioning decision and means that access is not based on a person’s ability to pay.”

Find out more about the trial at: https://www.prepimpacttrial.org.uk/