At a major HIV/AIDS summit in London today, MP Matt Hancock, the UK Secretary of State for Health & Social care is due to announce plans by the UK Government to commit to ending HIV transmissions in England by 2030.
The announced commitment consists of an expert group that will be established to develop a plan of action over the course of this year through which they can reach their 11-year goal. The Department for Health and Social Care say that prevention is at the heart of this commitment, will measurable action points for each group who are at risk of infection, from gay and bisexual men, Black African and minority ethnic (BAME) groups as well as all other heterosexuals, with extensive monitoring of their progress.
Speaking at the summit, Matt Hancock will announce “So today we’re setting a new goal: eradicating HIV transmission in England by 2030. No new infections within the next decade. Becoming one of the first countries to reach the UN zero infections target by 2030.”
This announcement comes after the UK meeting the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets in November of last year ahead of the 2020 deadline, with 92% of people living with HIV diagnosed, 98% of those in treatment, and 97% of those having effective treatment having an undetectable viral load, meaning they can’t pass on HIV.
Chief Executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, Ian Green, told us:
“Today’s commitment is a seminal moment in the fight to end new HIV transmissions in England.
“We now have the tools to end HIV transmissions. Through regular HIV testing, condom use, access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), prevention information and advice, and effective treatment which means people living with HIV cannot pass on the virus, we can stop HIV in its tracks. That’s why Terrence Higgins Trust has been vocal in our call for this ambitious but achievable commitment.
“For England to reach zero new HIV transmissions, the Department for Health & Social Care, Public Health England, alongside local authorities, must now urgently work in collaboration to address some of the most pressing HIV issues. These include stepping up HIV testing to ensure the 8,000 people who remain undiagnosed can get onto treatment, immediately adding more places to the PrEP trial and ensuring sexual health services are properly funded. Without these actions, this commitment simply won’t be achievable.”