Superdrug has launched the UK’s first ever high-street PrEP service – and it will be fully remote in an effort to make it accessible to as many people as possible.
The service will be open to anyone who is aged over 18 and does not currently have HIV, the pharmacy chain has announced.
Superdrug will, however, require that people accessing PrEP through its new service adhere to blood monitoring tests to ensure that they can safely take the HIV-preventing drug.
Those who access the service will be charged £80 for a 30-tablet pack of the generic version of a PrEP drug, according to Chemist and Druggist. That price will go up to £155 for a 60-tablet packet and £220 for a 90-tablet packet.
People who want to access the service will also be able to purchase a HIV and kidney function test through Superdrug for a price of £39.99 as well as a “full PrEP test kit” for £99.99, which tests prospective customers for hepatitis B and C.
Potential PrEP users will be able to get a prescription through Superdrug’s online doctor – meaning they will be able to access the preventative drug remotely.
‘Fully remote service’ will allow people to access PrEP from Superdrug.
The news comes just weeks after the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced a grant of £11.2 million for local authorities in England to provide PrEP for free to communities.
“We offer a fully remote service, where people who don’t have easy access to a sexual health clinic – due to their location, COVID restrictions or lack of appointments – can access a full PrEP service from home,” said Michael Henry, healthcare director at Superdrug.
This move will also help raise awareness of this game-changer for preventing HIV.
“Our aim is to enable people to make informed choices and assume responsibility for their own healthcare.
“There have been some important advancements in reducing the number of HIV transmissions – not only medically but also moving on the conversations about HIV and breaking down stigmas about HIV. Making PrEP more easily available is yet another milestone in the effort to banish the HIV epidemic.”
HIV charities hope the move will raise the profile of the preventative drug.
Dr Michael Brady, medical director at HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust, said the new scheme will make PrEP “easy to access” for many people.
“This move will also help raise awareness of this game-changer for preventing HIV; especially amongst groups that might not have heard much about PrEP before.
“The majority of people currently taking PrEP in the UK are gay and bisexual men – but PrEP works for everyone at risk of HIV. We hope that initiatives like this will result in more people learning about the benefits of PrEp, especially women, BAME communities and trans people.”
Dr Brady also reminded people that PrEP is currently available for free in sexual health clinics in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and will soon be free in England too.
When taken daily, PrEP prevents the transmission of HIV. The drug is particularly recommended for people who have condomless sex with multiple partners.