Superdrug is to offer a PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) service through an ‘Online Doctor’, it has been announced.
The service will be available to those over the age of 18 who are HIV negative and who consider themselves to be in a high-risk group for contracting HIV, the high street retailer says.
It follows last week’s news that the HIV prevention pill is to be rolled out by NHS England.
In 2018, Superdrug became the first high street retailer to offer HIV self-testing kits.
The Online Doctor service has a strict inclusion criteria which ensures that patients have the blood monitoring they need, both before and during accessing PrEP to ensure that it is prescribed safely.
"Yet another milestone in the effort to banish the HIV epidemic"
Michael Henry, Healthcare Director, at Superdrug said: “Following the DHSC’s announcement, we’re further increasing PrEP’s availability and making it more easily accessible to people who need it most via our Online Doctor PrEP service.
“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. 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 numbers 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.”
Dr Michael Brady, Medical Director, at Terrence Higgins Trust said: “It’s great to see a high street store like Superdrug making PrEP easy to access through its website. 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.
“While many people may prefer this service, it’s also important to point out that PrEP is currently available for free via sexual health clinics in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – and this will very soon be the case across England too.”
"Remember to use condoms when having sex as this will protect against other STI’s"
Superdrug Health Ambassador Dr Zoe Williams, says: “Launching this PrEP service enables more people to more easily protect themselves. And while PrEP is proven to be highly effective at preventing HIV infection when it’s taken correctly, it’s important to try to remember to use condoms when having sex as this will protect against other STI’s.”