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Britain meets global HIV targets because the diagnosis continues to decline



Illustration of human immunodeficiency virusImage copyright
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HIV diagnosis continues to decline in the UK because it meets the UN targets for diagnosis, treatment and transmission for the first time, according to a report from Public Health England.

It said there was no doubt prevention efforts to end the working HIV epidemic.

New HIV diagnoses in the UK fell 17% from 2016 to 2017, with the spread among gay and bisexual men declining.

HIV charities say real progress is being made in the fight against HIV.

The latest figures on HIV infection from PHE show that last year the UK and the UK as a whole met three important 90% targets set by the United Nations Joint Program on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS).

  • 92% of people living with HIV infection in the UK are diagnosed
  • 98% of people diagnosed receive treatment
  • 97% of people who receive treatment make them unable to continue the infection

Overall, 87% of people living with HIV in the UK are thought to have an undetectable viral load and therefore cannot infect others.

Countries around the world are given a 2020 deadline but the UK meets the target in 2017.

Britain's success dropped to more HIV tests, increased condom use and people started their treatment faster, PHE said.

Availability of pre-exposure prophylaxis (Prep), a daily pill that deactivates HIV before being strangled in the body, can also be a factor.

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Getty Images

Caption

Prep is a daily pill that kills HIV before it enters the body

The report said there was a continuing tendency to decline in new HIV diagnoses for several years and HIV transmission among the groups most affected by the virus – men who have sex with men.

In 2017, there were 4,363 new cases of HIV in the UK – 3,236 in men – and almost half were diagnosed at an advanced stage.

Prof. Noel Gill, head of sexually transmitted infections and HIV in Public Health England, said prevention efforts were successful.

But he said it was important that people take an HIV test if they thought they were at risk because early diagnosis was the key to stopping transmission.

"Our efforts must continue to eliminate HIV.

"Treatment for HIV is available free and is very effective, allowing people to live long, healthy lives.

"Now there are various ways people can protect themselves from being infected or transmitting HIV, including condom use, Prep, regular HIV testing, and the initiation of rapid antiretroviral treatment."

About 102,000 people are estimated to be living with HIV in the UK but around 8,000 (8%) are still considered unaware of their infection.

& # 39; Important moment & # 39;

Ian Green, chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, said it was "fantastic news" that Britain had reached the UN target.

But he said new and ambitious targets were now needed.

"This is far from the end and it is time for us to become more ambitious as we work to end new HIV transmission completely in the UK.

"That's because we are at an important moment and must not jeopardize the progress made with complacency."

Deborah Gold, chief executive of the National Aids Trust said Britain is now a global leader in HIV.

"This is an extraordinary moment in the fight against HIV – where everything seems possible.

"With the right political will, investment and public support, we can eliminate HIV as a public health threat and make concrete progress towards the UN target to end HIV-related stigma."


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