Data released from PHE today shows that HIV diagnoses amongst men who have sex with men (MSM) have fallen by 21%. This fall is steepest in London, where new diagnoses dropped by 29%, compared to 11% in the rest of the country.
Growing use of PrEP will have contributed to the fall, alongside other key factors, including engaging higher risk individuals with frequent HIV and STI testing, ensuring timely HIV diagnosis and much earlier treatment, significantly reducing the chance of any transmission to others.
Deborah Gold, chief executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust) said: “NAT celebrates this proof that combination prevention can successfully reduce HIV, and applauds everyone involved in accomplishing this landmark result, achieved by adapting to the changing landscape of HIV and healthcare.
“Thanks to awareness, testing, treatment, condoms and PrEP, a future where HIV (and fear of HIV) is less of a burden for gay men is in sight. However, we are seriously concerned that progress for gay men is much slower outside of London, these reductions in diagnoses are not mirrored among heterosexual people, and black and minority ethnic people are more likely to be diagnosed with HIV late, with consequent poorer health outcomes. This is an unacceptable inequality which needs urgent attention. We cannot hope to build on this success if investment in preventing HIV continues to face significant cuts, which are already threatening recent progress. Together we should celebrate what has been achieved, but this is no time for complacency. If anything, this shows that, now we know what is possible, we must redouble our efforts.”
1) The new PHE data can be accessed here.
2) Although the HIV prevention drug PrEP is not yet available on the NHS, some people are buying this online, which is legal for private use.