Not all sexual health clinics and Accident and Emergency departments in the UK have procedures in place to offer PEP and even when they do, you may have difficulty accessing it. In 2006 the former Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson wrote to all PCTs stating that PEP should be made available as part of a wider HIV prevention strategy.
How to avoid problems when trying to access PEP
Occasionally when trying to get PEP at an Accident and Emergency department or a sexual health clinic, you may meet some resistance from receptionists or clinic staff.
Men have reported being told to go away and come back another day. If this is the case, explain you can't because the treatment must be started straight away. Other men have been told that PEP is not available for sexual exposure, isn't available on the NHS or simply does not exist.
If you encounter these problems:
- Politely but firmly say their information is incorrect and ask to speak to the 'on-call HIV doctor' (if there is one).
- If you can, before going to the hospital print out this letter. This might help - it's an official letter telling hospitals they should make PEP available to people at risk.
- If you're still refused PEP, go to another hospital if you can. Call THT Direct on 0808 802 1221 - they can tell you which hospitals give out PEP.
Remember - you are less likely to encounter problems if you go to a hospital which sees a lot of HIV positive patients.
What to do if PEP is not available in your area:
If you know that PEP is not available in your area you could do the following:
Contact your local gay men's project or call THT Direct on 0808 802 1221 to find out about organisations near to you.
Ask the project if they have considered working with local sexual health clinics to make PEP available locally. You could point them to the health professionals section of this site.
Contact the Chief Executive of your local health authority
Write to the Chief Executive of your local health authority asking them why PEP is not available locally and what steps they intend to take to change that situation.
Write to your local MP
Write to your local MP asking them to act on your behalf to get PEP available locally. You can find out who you local MP is at http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/.
You might want to include some of the evidence on why PEP should be available. This is available in the CHAPS PEP briefing paper.
- This article was last reviewed on: 11/10/2011
- Date due for next review: 11/10/2013