Scaling up use of opioid agonist therapies could help combat Ukraine’s HIV epidemic
“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,” he added. HIV testing and PrEP
The sharp decline in new diagnoses of HIV in the UK can be attributed to the country’s efforts to reach its goal. In 2018, the UK continued to exceed UNAIDS targets. Out of the 103,800 people living with HIV, about 93 percent were diagnosed, 97 percent of those diagnosed are under treatment, and 97 percent of those under treatment are now virally suppressed.
Also, thanks to HIV testing as fewer people remain unaware they’re infected. The country aims to conduct widespread HIV testing to detect undiagnosed infection. More than 1.1 million attendees in all specialist sexual health services (SHS) were tested for HIV, which increased by 6 percent since 2017.
Among gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with men (GBM), a total of 127,633 were tested for HIV, which increased by 9 percent from the previous year.
Aside from the increased rate of HIV testing, the decline has been credited to the introduction of the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) pill, which is widely and freely available in Wales and Scotland to people at a high risk of HIV exposure. By the last quarter of 2018, approximately 13,000 to 19,500 persons, across the UK, were under PrEP, a majority of whom receive the drug through a publicly funded trial or clinic, while others self-purchase the drug.
“Thanks to excellent NHS care, people living with HIV now get immediate access to highly effective treatments, meaning that they can expect to live long and healthy lives and be confident they won’t pass the virus to their partners,” Dr. Michael Brady, National Adviser for LGBT Health to the NHS, said.
“The NHS is determined to carry on the significant progress towards eliminating HIV and achieving zero new transmissions by 2030, as part of our Long-Term Plan to improve the prevention of avoidable illnesses and tackle health inequalities,” he added. Sources: Public Health England. (2019). HIV in the United Kingdom: Towards Zero HIV transmissions by 2030: 2019 report. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/858559/HIV_in_the_UK_2019_towards_zero_HIV_transmissions_by_2030.pdf Public Health England. (2020). HIV in the UK: towards zero HIV transmissions by 2030. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hiv-in-the-uk-towards-zero-hiv-transmissions-by-2030
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