Christmas came early to 56 Dean Street. The clinic’s appeal to help young gay men who are unable to afford PrEP, and featured in last month’s Boyz, raised over £20,000 in one week.
The team were really touched by people’s generosity as the money flooded into 56 Dean Street’s ‘Just Giving’ page. “It was one of those moments when you realise that there is a community out there that cares,” said service director Dr Alan McOwan. “The G-A-Y Bar testing fundraiser and our fantastic Red Runners raised a further £6000, so it’s really been the best Christmas present we could have hoped for.”
Overall HIV diagnoses in gay men at Dean Street have fallen by over 80% in recent years. However, the only group where it hasn’t dropped is in the youngest group. “We ran focus groups of under 25 year olds to try and work out why,” said Dr McOwan.
“London is an expensive city when you’re starting out. Many people told us they simply couldn’t afford to buy PrEP. Most knew very little about HIV prevention before they first had sex. It was usually an older sexual partner or gay ‘big brother’ who told them the facts. That’s where we got the idea of asking them to help out.”
Dean Street is trying to raise £40,000 to protect 600 young gay men. “The NHS is expected to start funding PrEP from next summer so it’s only for a short period of time. It feels wrong that we’re watching 18 year olds catch HIV while we wait. They’re the only group where we’re not seeing HIV fall. Every £12 donated will buy a one month pack of PrEP for an under 25 year old without the funds to buy it themselves. We won’t charge for the prescribing and dispensing. The clinic will provide it for free.”
Are you aged under 25 years old?
Walk into Dean Street Express and ask about your HIV prevention options. The team are there to help you find the option that works best for you. Or explore them online at www.dean.st/zero. If PrEP is the right choice 56 Dean Street can help. If money is an issue ask them about ‘Generation ZERO funding’. If you can afford it, you can make a donation towards the cost. If you can’t, that’s fine.
Can you help Dean Street hit its £40,000 target?
There’s no reason for another generation to be affected by HIV. With your help 56 Dean Street can achieve Generation ZERO. A £12 donation buys a month of HIV protection for a gay man aged under 25 years old.
Photos by Joel Ryder