Reports have shown that United Kingdom has finally achieved the target numbers when it comes to HIV.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAids) target for 2020 is 90-90-90 which means 90 percent people with HIV would be diagnosed, 90 percent of those diagnosed would receive anti-HIV or anti-retroviral treatment and 90 percent of those treated with antiretroviral drugs would achieve suppression of their viral load so that they cannot transmit the infection to others. According to a report from the Public Health England, UK has reached goals of 92 percent, 98 percent and 97 percent, respectively for each of the parameters.
Image Credit: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock
The PHE report states that 87 percent of those with HIV in UK have undetectable levels of virus in their blood which means that they cannot pass it on to others. Young people living with HIV last year had a similar life expectancy as a person without HIV, the report stated. The report adds that there has been a decline in new cases of HIV that was reduced by 17 percent between 2016 and 2017. There was a significant decline in spread of the infection among bisexual men, the report adds. There were 4,363 new cases of HIV in the UK in 2017 and of these 3,236 were men. Nearly half of these patients were detected at a late stage of the infection.
National Aids Trust chief executive Deborah Gold said this achievement put UK on the top making it a “global leader” in the battle against HIV, AIDS. She said in a statement, “This is an extraordinary moment in the fight against HIV – in which everything seems possible. The government must explicitly commit to achieving zero new infections and zero stigma, and agree a plan as to how to get there.” Ian Green, chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust also lauded these numbers adding that more needs to be done now to stop HIV transmission completely. Health Secretary Matt Hancock in a statement added, “Today’s report is a poignant and powerful reminder of how far we’ve come. Now in the UK, almost everyone with HIV is not only diagnosed and in treatment but living long, healthy lives – and we’re one of just a handful of countries to meet these ambitious UN targets.”
Prof Noel Gill, head of sexually transmitted infections and HIV at Public Health England said in a statement that all individuals need to get tested. “Our efforts must continue apace in order to eliminate HIV. Treatment for HIV is freely available and highly effective, enabling people to live a long, healthy life. There are now a variety of ways people can protect themselves from being infected with or passing on HIV, including use of condoms, Prep, regular HIV testing, and prompt initiation of antiretroviral treatment,” he said.
WHO however adds that other European countries have not done well when it comes to HIV. There are over 130,000 people diagnosed with HIV last year in Eastern Europe. The levels of new diagnoses was “unacceptably high” said WHO in a recent warning report.
The report comes ahead of world AIDS day that is marked on 1st December each year.