by Kate Ebbutt

Dr Sara Day, Sophie Jones. Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.

Abstract Background

Prevention efforts such as PrEP are fundamental to achieving zero HIV transmissions by 2030. PrEP was commissioned in England in 2020. OPSS’s now account for a significant proportion of national STI screening. We review the use of a large OPSS by people taking PrEP.

Abstract Method

Data analysis was conducted of unique service users accessing Sexual Health London (SHL), an OPSS for London residents, between March 2021 and March 2024. Demographic data, triages, kit orders and sample returns were collected.

Abstract Results

Between 2021-2024, 37665 unique users reported taking PrEP. They requested 150849 kits and 130401/150849 (86.4%) samples were returned for testing.

The range of STI screens per PrEP user was 63 (IQR 3, median 4). 

The number of unique users taking PrEP increased by 53.1% between 2021/22 (16799) and 2023/24 (25717), kit orders increased by 77.9% (2021/22, 35617 to 2023/24, 62853) and kit returns increased 76.5% (2021/22, 31044 to 2023/24, 53690).  

PrEP users accounted for 4.94% of all unique users accessing SHL between 2021/22 and 6.63% 2023/24, representing a proportional increase of 34%.

Demographic characteristics of PrEP users between 2021 and 2024 were: gay or bisexual male 94.5% (2021/22) and 94.1% (2023/24); gender minorities 1.9% (2021/22) and 2.6% (2023/24) equating to 37.0% proportional increase; White British 41.2% (2021/22) and 40.9% (2023/24). Age, IMD and ethnicity of PrEP users experienced minimal proportional change between 2021-2024. Sourcing PrEP from clinic increased from 88.6%, 2021/22 to 91.8%, 2023/24.

Abstract Conclusion

The population proportion and use of OPSS by London PrEP users has significantly increased whilst the rate of self-sourcing PrEP is reducing. OPSS PrEP users are predominantly gay/bisexual men though proportionally more gender minorities now take it. There was minimal representation of other groups taking PrEP (eg women). Increased efforts are required to improve awareness and access to PrEP amongst under-represented groups.

About the author:

Kate Ebbutt is the Head of Marketing and Communications for Preventx