The decline in new diagnoses of HIV have continued to fall since a peak in 2014, a new report from Public Health England has found.
A rapid decline has been observed since 2014, falling from 6278 transmissions to 4453 in 2018. The drop in HIV transmission has been especially large among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men from an estimated 2800 transmissions in 2012 to 800 in 2018, a 71.4% fall. The number of gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men living undiagnosed with HIV has halved since 2014 from an estimated 7,000 to 3600 in 2018.
‘I feel very strongly that we must end HIV transmission. HIV has brought untold hurt and suffering to so many, so it is encouraging to see transmissions continue to fall across the UK. We are well on our way towards our ambition of zero HIV transmissions by 2030, and we should be rightly proud of the incredible progress we have already made,’ said Matt Hancock, Health Secretary.
‘My unwavering commitment to prevention, and public health campaigns, have tackled the unjust stigma around HIV and has led to more people getting tested and benefitting from life-saving treatment.’
HIV testing has greatly increased over the past decade. In 2018, however, an estimated 7500 people were living with HIV and were unaware of this, and 2 in 5 of those diagnosed in 2018 were diagnosed at a late stage. Late stage infections have more than a ten-fold increased risk of death in the year following diagnosis compared to those who are diagnosed early and begin treatment immediately
We are well on our way to reaching the goal of eliminating HIV transmission by 2030, with the rapid fall in HIV transmission continuing in 2018, and nearly all of those diagnosed receiving treatment that prevents onward transmission,’ said Dr Noel Gill, Head of STIs and HIV at Public Health England.
‘Testing is a key part of the UK’s success, if you have HIV you can benefit from life-saving treatments that also prevent further transmission of the virus. Certain groups of people are at higher HIV risk and are advised to have regular tests, including men and women who have had unprotected sex with new or casual partners from countries where HIV is common, who should test every year, and men who have sex with men.’