HIV Latest Update:

Recent data released by the UK’s health agencies has shed light on the current status of HIV in the country. Encouragingly, there has been a marked decrease in the number of new HIV diagnoses over the past year, primarily attributed to expanded testing efforts, early treatment interventions, and the broader availability of preventative measures like pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). However, while metropolitan areas like London have seen significant drops in new diagnoses, some regions are experiencing slower rates of decline, indicating a need for more targeted interventions. The data also emphasizes the importance of regular testing and early diagnosis, as early treatment improves individual health outcomes and reduces the risk of transmission. Health officials continue to stress the importance of maintaining momentum in the fight against HIV, advocating for continued investment in awareness campaigns, testing facilities, and accessibility to treatments.

In preparation for next week’s National HIV Testing Week, I thought it might be useful to look at the most recent statistics for HIV in the UK.

Public Health England reported that 6000 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in the United Kingdom in 2013. The overall figure is lower than that seen a decade ago, mainly due to fewer diagnoses among heterosexual men and women born in high-prevalence African countries. Unfortunately, among gay men, the number of diagnoses is as high as ever, with 3250 new cases reported in 2013.

HIV statistics

It is estimated that there are now almost 110000 people living with HIV in the country, and around 26000 of these are unaware of their status.The good news is that the UK is meeting 2 out of the 3 targets set by UNAIDS. (The Joint United Nations Program on HIV and Aids). These are for 90% of all people living with HIV to know their status, 90% of those to be on treatment and 90% of those to have an undetectable viral load. According to UNAIDS, if these figures could be achieved by 2020, the global AIDS epidemic would be over by 2030.

The UK currently provides treatment for 90% of HIV-positive individuals, and of those on treatment, 90% are undetectable, so these targets have been met. This is a major achievement and shows how far the UK has come in treating this disease.
Unfortunately, we are still lagging behind when it comes to people knowing their status. Only 76% of people living with HIV in the UK know their status. When broken down by race we fare even worse with only 62% of African heterosexual men and 69% of African heterosexual women knowing their status.

There is clearly room for improvement, and more should be done to encourage people to get tested. We can now treat HIV and keep symptoms at bay and most people on HIV treatment can live a normal lifespan. The key is getting all people to test.

Next week is National HIV Test Week, so why not support it and get tested? Knowing your status can save your life and those of your partners.