Today the UK Government will announce it is committing to ending new HIV transmissions in England by 2030. The announcement is due to be made by the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care, Matt Hancock MP, during a speech at a major global HIV/AIDS summit in London.
Speaking at the summit, Matt Hancock will say, ‘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.’
The Department for Health & Social Care has confirmed that an expert group will now be established to develop an action plan over the course of this year. They have said that prevention will be at the heart of this commitment, alongside measurable action points for each group who are at risk of infection, including gay and bisexual men, black African and minority ethnic groups and for all other heterosexuals, and extensive monitoring of progress.
This news follows the UK meeting the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets in November 2018, ahead of the 2020 deadline, with 92% of people living with HIV diagnosed, 98% of those on treatment, and 97% of those having an undetectable viral load – which means they can’t pass on HIV.
Ian Green, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said: ‘Today’s commitment is a seminal moment in the fight to end new HIV transmissions in England. In becoming one of the first nations to make such a commitment, the Government has shown decisive leadership on HIV and we applaud them for making this pledge.
‘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.
‘The clock has now started ticking towards the end of HIV transmissions in England. Today’s commitment demonstrates that the Government has listened to our demand for a bold vision on HIV. Now it must act upon our call to ensure services and interventions are urgently put in place to ensure that by 2030 this pledge is made a reality.’