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UK meets global HIV targets as diagnoses continue to fall

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According to the public health report in England, HIV diagnosis continues to fall in the UK as it is the first time that it meets the UN's diagnostic, treatment and transmission goals.

It said that there is no doubt that efforts to prevent the HIV epidemic are working.

New HIV diagnoses in the UK have decreased by 17% from 2016 to 2017, while the spread among gay and bisexual men has decreased.

HIV charities have reported real progress in the fight against HIV.

Recent data on HIV infections identified in PHE show that last year both England and the United Kingdom generally met three important targets of 90% set by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV / AIDS (UNAids).

  • 92% of people living with HIV in the UK are diagnosed
  • 98% of people diagnosed with treatment
  • 97% of people receiving treatment leaving them unable to get an infection

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

The countries of the world received a deadline in 2020, but the UK fulfilled its tasks in 2017.

UK success has come down to more HIV testing, increased use of condoms and people starting treatment earlier, PHE reported.

The availability of preoperative prophylaxis (Prep), a daily pill that turns off HIV before it becomes suffocation, can also be a factor.

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Prep is a daily pill that disables HIV before it hardens in the body.

The report says that for several years there has been a steady trend towards a decrease in the number of new diagnoses of HIV infection and HIV transmission among the group most exposed to the virus – men who have sex with men.

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

Professor Noel Gill, head of sexually transmitted infections and HIV in public health in England, said prevention efforts were working.

But he said that it is very important that people have 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.

“HIV treatment is free and highly effective, which allows people to live a long and healthy life.

“Currently, there are many ways to protect people from becoming infected or transmitting HIV, including condom use, Prep, regular HIV testing and the rapid initiation of antiretroviral treatment.”

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

"Consolidated moment"

Ian Green, executive director of the Terrence Higgins Trust, said it was "fantastic news" that the UK had achieved UN goals.

But he said that now we need a new ambitious goal.

“This is far from the end, and it’s time for us to be even more ambitious, as we are working on ending new HIV transmissions entirely in the UK.

"This is because we are at a crucial moment and should not jeopardize the progress made by complacency."

Deborah Gold, executive director of the National Aids Trust, said that the UK has become the world leader in HIV.

“This is an extraordinary moment in the fight against HIV, in which everything seems possible.

“With the right political will, investment and public support, we can eliminate HIV as a threat to public health and make real progress towards achieving the UN goal of ending HIV-related stigma.”

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