Long-Acting Injectable treatment
NICE use of long-acting injectable treatment for HIV-1 infection in adults. photo: iStock

A latest Public Health England (PHE) report shows a significant drop in HIV transmission across the UK with fewer people remaining unaware of their HIV status.

The report, published today, finds a huge 73 per cent fall in HIV transmission rates among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men – from an estimated 2,300 transmissions in 2014 to 800 in 2018.

The number of gay and bisexual men living undiagnosed with HIV also halved from an estimated 7,000 in 2014 to 3,600 in 2018.

Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, said: “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.”

However, an estimated 7,500 people were reportedly living unaware of their condition in 2018, while two in five of those diagnosed with HIV in the same year were diagnosed at a late stage.

“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,” said Dr Noel Gill, Head of STIs and HIV at Public Health England.

Dr Gill, however, added that the UK was on the way to reaching the goal of eliminating HIV transmission by the end of this decade.

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