We Want Equitable access to PrEP Now

We want access for all who need PrEP – Equitable access to PrEP Now

A community statement October 2020

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) prevents people getting HIV and is almost 100% effective when taken as prescribed. It provides protection to the many people who continue to be vulnerable to HIV, both in the UK and around the world. The drug has been proven to be cost effective when measured against the cost of lifelong HIV treatment and care.

PrEP has already had an impact on HIV rates in the UK, with Public Health England clear that PrEP, alongside other HIV combination prevention interventions, has played a part in reducing HIV transmission – particularly amongst gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM).

But PrEP has the potential to do so much more – to be the driving force behind England meeting the target of ending new HIV transmissions by 2030.

Yet, there are major obstacles in the way of this potential.

PrEP can be an important HIV prevention tool for many people at risk of HIV. From gay and bisexual men, to women, Black African and other ethnic minority communities, and trans people.

Yet, these communities are currently not equally benefiting from PrEP.

Whilst awareness and uptake of PrEP in gay and bisexual men is high (but could always be higher), HIV Prevention England has found that Black African men and women are less likely to know about PrEP and may have misconceptions about what it means, who it is for and how to access it.[1] This is despite making up 44% of new heterosexual HIV diagnoses in 2018.[2]

This is not equality. This is not enabling all those who could benefit from PrEP being able to equally access it.

Between 2018-2019, a PrEP Commissioning Planning Group was established, jointly chaired by NHS England and the Association of Directors of Public Health and reporting to the Impact Trial PrEP Oversight Board. The group drafted a document: “Preparing for the commissioning of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in England: Recommendations of the PrEP Commissioning Planning Group”. This document was not published, yet it includes important recommendations around ensuring equitable access to PrEP in England that we believe the Government must address.

The burden of HIV is not evenly distributed, nor is the use of PrEP as a method of HIV prevention. The principle of equity – across different risk and demographic groups, and geographically – must be evident throughout routinely commissioned PrEP programmes: from knowledge and creating demand in at-risk individuals (e.g. via targeted health promotion programmes), to access, to uptake, to use, and importantly, in outcomes. In line with this principle, provision of various aspects of PrEP must be proportionate to need.

  • A national HIV PrEP programme affords the opportunity to champion equality throughout the delivery of PrEP and strengthen relationships not only with gay and bisexual men but especially other groups at high risk of HIV acquisition who may not otherwise engage with sexual health services.
  • A national HIV PrEP programme must go beyond the provision of drugs and adopt a whole system approach which, focusing on individual rights and choice, identifies those at risk of HIV who could benefit from PrEP but who are not accessing it currently; helps those at risk to identify appropriate prevention options; and supports their journey along it.
  • A national PrEP programme must also understand and seek to address the structural inequalities that drive inequity in PrEP access. These include working to address community-level, socio-economic and cultural factors.
  • To be effective, the comprehensive PrEP programme will need a novel, innovative approach (not just ‘continue’ or ‘within the current’); for activities to occur both within and outside specialist sexual health services where PrEP will be delivered and be undertaken by community organisations and non-GU clinicians.
  • Costs of introducing PrEP must include the need for enhanced community mobilisation and engagement, especially for Black African men and women, women of other ethnicities, trans people, younger and BME GBMSM groups, and other underserved groups. It must also focus on increasing awareness of PrEP in young people.

The need for additional pathways to ensure equity of access should consider primary care (including non-traditional delivery e.g. app-based provision of GP services), maternity, and termination of pregnancy services. These services must be co-designed with communities to examine the acceptability of potential pathways to be commissioned as well as looking at delivery. As the national PrEP guidance from BASHH and BHIVA states, “limiting provision of PrEP to level 3 sexual health clinics risks widening health inequalities disproportionately among black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) populations.”

National and local health promotion activity must address the need for additional information on PrEP to facilitate equity of access.

We also support the PrEP Commissioning Planning Group’s recommendation that a national PrEP Equity Audit tool should be used to ensure that no communities are being left behind in accessing PrEP.

For too long, access to PrEP has not been even. With the current roll out of routinely commissioned PrEP, action must be taken to ensure that all who can benefit from PrEP are aware of it and can access it.

Inequity in access to PrEP is not acceptable.

[1] https://www.hivpreventionengland.org.uk/2020/07/30/prep-knowledge-attitudes-and-usage-among-black-african-communities-in-england/

[2] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/…

MAD COVID-19 Hardship Crisis Fund – PLEASE DONATE NOW

MAD Trust COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund – to help those on stage & behind the scenes get financial assistance

How Your Donation Will Help:

The Make A Difference Trust’s COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund is helping entertainment professionals meet coronavirus-related expenses and other challenges brought about by the evolving pandemic.

In launching this fund the Make A Difference Trust donated an initial £5,000

Together we can make a difference.

The Make A Difference Trust
TheatreMAD: Fighting HIV & AIDS One Stage At A Time

Pease Donate


APPLY FOR HELP – MAD Hardship Fund – Coronavirus COVID-19 Crisis

The Make A Difference Trust has launched the MAD Trust COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund specifically to assist people in the Theatre Industry who have supported us in our fundraising:

For people in the theatre industry who have helped this charity on any of our fundraising shows who meet the criteria below, we will look to provide small pockets of financial assistance up to £200 to meet unexpected expenses that will cause hardship. This is available to those who are experiencing hardship due to theatre closures as a direct result of Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Criteria to apply:

  • The Crisis Fund will prioritise those who have helped the Make A Difference Trust in their fundraising events including West End Bares, West End Eurovision, A Mad Drag Night, West End Christmas, MAD Cabarets and West End Bares Calendar.
  • The Crisis Fund is designed to support those who are active working members (or recently active working members) within the West End Theatre industry. This can be in any aspect of the industry including Performance, Front of House, Back Stage and Stage Craft.
  • The Crisis Fund is there to support unforeseen emergencies and should only be used when all other avenues have been considered (including, but not limited to: Requesting Mortgage Payment Holidays, Universal Credit). The Fund cannot replace statutory funding.
  • The Crisis Fund is designed to provide support to those industry members who are experiencing unexpected financial distress due to Coronavirus COVID19 and has been asked to self-isolate or their employing theatre has closed due to the Coronavirus or government requirements

If you wish to make an application to this fund, please download and complete the application form:

CLICK HERE for The Make A Difference Hardship Crisis Fund Income Request Form *

then email it back to  hardshipfund@madtrust.org.uk 

* Please Note:     

• If you need to install the FREE Acrobat Reader DC software that will allow you to easily fill-in this application form and save it, simply go to https://get.adobe.com/uk/reader/

• Click on “Download Acrobat Reader” (Do not click on the options for Chrome Extension or the Optional Offers).

• Double click on the downloaded “readerdc_uk_***_install.exe” file to install the free software.  NB you MUST click save or save as to save the details you have entered on the form.

• Once Acrobat Reader is installed you can safely delete the installation file that you downloaded.

HIV & Covid-19 The Facts

If you are living with HIV and have an undetectable viral load and a good CD4 count (i.e. >400) then you should not be at any greater risk. If you are living with HIV and have a low CD4 count and a detectable viral load then it is important to take additional precautions such as avoiding situations where you might get exposed to the virus as it becomes more widespread. If you feel that you either have COVID-19 or have been exposed then it is important to follow the latest Government/NHS advice.
Source: Dr Michael Brady – Sexual Health and HIV Consultant at King’s College Hospital and the first National Adviser for LGBT Health.



 Coronavirus: Guidance for Better Mental Health
If you feel it could be helpful for you or someone you know, please click the following link for information:



Fit for the Future – HIV Scotland

About HIV Scotland
Since our formation in 1994, we have achieved a great deal. One historic breakthrough came in 2017 thanks to our campaign, when Scotland became the first UK nation to provide PrEP on the NHS; a drug proven to prevent HIV transmission.

What We Do
We work for and on behalf of people living with and at risk of HIV. Amongst many other things, we provide legal advice or advocate access to treatment or support services. We also carry out research to ensure that policy makers are aware of up-to-date evidence so that policies services and practice can reflect the needs of these people. We run events t improve public awareness and knowledge around HIV and we campaign publicly to modernise people’s understanding to end stigma and discrimination. Our priorities and work are shaped by people living with HIV so we host an Advisory Network meeting every couple of months to ensure our work and policies align with and meet the needs of people living with HIV – nothing about us without us!

We are now pushing forward our groundbreaking #ZEROHIV campaign to achieve zero new HIV transmissions, zero new HIV-related deaths and zero HIV- related stigma & discrimination in Scotland by 2030. Our work doesn’t just help people get by; it helps them thrive.

The Fit for the Future Initiative
In 2018, HIV Scotland undertook a survey of 2,806 young people in Scotland which revealed that many young people are leaving school with inadequate and inaccurate sexual health information. The vast majority of students expressed a need for more contemporary & comprehensive sexual health messages, whilst teachers pointed out that sex education lesson plans & resources were outdated & not readily available.

The survey illustrated that a whole generation of young people are growing up misinformed about HIV, sexually transmitted infections, & sexual health in general. To reduce future transmissions & to provide young people with the right information to remain healthy, we are co-developing a project with young people to create national sexual health resources which can be incorporated into sexual health lesson plans. This will include a series of short online films written & created by young people for young people.

Our project will train young people to create video content which can be used for sex education lesson plans. This will include information around HIV & other bloodborne viruses/STIs to prevent transmission & to enable young people to have happy, safe, well-informed & healthy relationships. This will empower young people to educate their peers & make a difference in their country & across Scotland as the resources will be freely available & rolled out across the country. This will make sex education more accessible & relevant to young people as it will be up-to-date, informative & made from a young person’s perspective.

Dylan Morris, HIV Scotland’s Policy and Public Affairs Officer leading on this project, said: “Our research into the education of Scotland’s young people and their readiness for the adult world has given us a clear route forward in terms of improving their knowledge. Our ongoing work regarding sex education will make a huge difference at an individual level, but also at a societal one as we work towards zero HIV-related stigma in the next decade.”

Kevin Rowe, HIV Scotland’s Fundraising Manager, said: “For a small charity undertaking national work, such a generous grant from the MAD Trust means we can physically deliver this initiative to help young people better understand the reality of HIV today & take an important step towards ultimately reaching zero HIV in Scotland by 2030. Thank you.”




We are an independent community-focused HIV group that builds awareness of HIV and provides support services for people living with HIV.

We provide information and support services to African Refugees and Asylum Seekers. Our services include information on health, referrals to social services and advocacy on services available.

We organise activities that help to reduce isolation among target communities.

This service: is for Sub-Saharan Africans
Languages Available: English, Swahili, Luganda and Lingala
Location: Cornerstone House, 14 Willis Road, Croydon, CR0 2XX
Organisation: Health Promotion Group for Ethnic Minorities
Service Type: Advice and Advocacy

56 Dean Street & CW+

The Grass Is Always Grindr – Season 2:
‘The Grass Is Always Grindr’ is a web series developed to reinforce PRIME’s key risk reduction messages. It represents a new way of spreading education to our patients, and any men who have sex with men, about HIV,PrEP/PEP, apps, STIs, loneliness and self-esteem. Following premiering on PRIME, the episodes are released on social media to reach a wider audience. Given the success of the first series, with the three films gaining over 300,000 views (and counting), we are delighted that Make a Difference are supporting our team in making a second series.

In the next films, we’ll expand our themes and reach. As well as retaining our primary core focus on HIV prevention, we plan to engage viewers in awareness of chemsex (a widespread sexual health issue amongst some of our patients), drug safety, HIV disclosure to family and friends, navigating emotional intimacy, and an examination of the legacy of the AIDS crisis on older gay men, and their sex lives. We’ll develop our focus on BME characters, encourage testing, and explore growing up LGBT in an often hetero-normative society.

The films will be released on a monthly basis to our YouTube channel in 2019. You can see all episodes back to back below:

GHB/L overdose has become a leading cause of death in 56 Dean Street HIV patients and Season 2, Episode 6 is particularly important as it explains how to save someone’s life if they o/d in the storyline.  

Talking About HIV. Brigstowe

Talking About HIV:
The aim of this project is to educate the general public and increase awareness of HIV in Bristol and surrounding areas. The level of awareness of HIV has regressed in recent years and this means that people living with HIV continue to face stigma and discrimination which affects their wellbeing. Talking about HIV will address this issue by sharing the facts about HIV and dispelling myths.

The project will deliver a diverse program of HIV education initiatives: HIV awareness training; public campaigns; events and workshops; and strengthen community partnerships.

All of the activities will be co-delivered by a team of volunteers living with HIV who have been trained in public speaking and have up to date HIV knowledge and awareness.

About Brigstowe:
Brigstowe’s vision is a world in which people living with HIV live long and healthy lives, free from poverty, stigma, prejudice and discrimination. Brigstowe’s aim is to enhance the quality of life for people living with HIV through a wide range of responsive services including advice, peer support and a specialist migrant service.

The Food Chain

Enhanced Food & Nutrition Services for People Living with HIV in Crisis

It was on Christmas Day in 1988 that The Food Chain delivered its first meal for people living with HIV – a home cooked Christmas dinner, with all the trimmings, made by volunteers in a borrowed kitchen and delivered to people’s homes.

From that Christmas day to this, The Food Chain has been providing food and nutrition support for people living with HIV in London, at times of crisis.

Our services are delivered by more than 200 volunteers, supported by a small staff team of just six posts.

Each year we receive referrals from health and social care professionals all across London for approximately 350 people living with HIV an in acute need:

  • They may be recently diagnosed and already be sick with an Aids defining illness.
  • They may have been recently discharged from hospital after an in-patient stay.
  • They may be on a very low income, or no income at all and not able to afford to buy food for themselves or their families.
  • They may be homeless or in unstable accommodation,
  • They may be refugees or asylum seekers trying to make a life somewhere where it is safe to be open about your HIV status.

Many will be experiencing poor mental health, social isolation and nearly all have experienced stigma and prejudice because of their HIV status.

As well as helping the person referred to us, our services help support their family members and reach a further 250 people, including children, babies and adult carers.

  • We can supply up to 3 grocery deliveries to fill empty cupboards
  • People are then invited to attend our lunchtime meal service in King’s Cross on Wednesdays and Saturdays, where they can meet other people, share a hot, nutritious lunch and get information and support to help them get better both physically and mentally.
  • We also offer a nutrition and cookery course of 4 topics to help improve nutrition knowledge and build up practical cookery skills for the longer term.

Magnet Theatre – Mildmay Mission Hospital

At Mildmay we envisage a world where all people managing HIV can live a life in all its fullness. Our mission is to respond effectively to HIV and related health issues through specialised care, treatment, training, education and research. We aim to deliver services of the highest quality and constantly seek to improve through listening, reflecting, learning and action.

Magnet Theatre
Mildmay Kenya work to empower communities to deliver HIV health care services through support education and training. They work to reach key-affected, at-risk groups through a variety of projects that reach some of the poorest communities in hard-to-reach areas. Siaya county in Kenya is a poor region that falls far behind the national progress made in fighting HIV. The burden of HIV in Siaya stands at 24.8%. In the province where Siaya County is located, 6.2% of youth aged 15-24 are living with HIV. This is three-times higher than the national youth HIV prevalence rate.

“KAA RADA KUWA SMARTTA” project (an urban dialect expression meaning be careful, be wise) is an educational theatre project targeting Kenyan young people in Siaya County. The project uses performances and community theatre to raise awareness and understanding of sex, sexuality and HIV by retelling the true stories of young people. Through this engagement we help children and young people access HIV testing, treatment and sexual health services.

“KAA RADA KUWA SMARTTA” will increase the number of children and young people in Siaya county who access HIV testing and treatment and sexual health services. Performances will also promote diversity, compassion and understanding, and encourage networking between young people to advocate for better HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) in their area. Through theatre, we want to inspire young people to take action and speak up about barriers to HIV prevention, care and treatment in Siaya county