With a commitment to end new cases of HIV in England by 2030, the Government today published their plan to achieve an 80% reduction in new HIV infections in England by 2025.
Through 4 objectives:
- Ensuring equitable access and uptake of HIV prevention programmes
- Scale up HIV testing in line with national guidelines
- Optimise rapid access to treatment and retention in care
- Improving the quality of life for people living with HIV and addressing stigma
£23 million of investment will help to scale current methods of HIV prevention. Representing one of the biggest decreases worldwide, there has been a 35% reduction in new HIV diagnoses in England between 2014 and 2019.
Commenting on the plan, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid said “We will end new HIV infections in England by the end of the decade.
“We’ve made excellent progress already with transmissions continuing to fall across England and we are well on our way towards our ambition of zero HIV transmissions and deaths by 2030.
“The UK is leading the way to stamp out HIV and the new actions we are taking – from scaling up testing to increasing access to PrEP – will help people affected to live longer, healthier lives and eliminate this cruel disease for future generations.”
Health Minister, Maggie Throup, said:
“Our unwavering commitment to prevention and public health campaigns have helped significantly reduce new HIV infections by tackling stigma and urging more people to get tested, as well as accessing life-saving treatment.
We’re taking action to make sure we’re firmly on track to meet our target in the next 9 years – doubling down on existing efforts and adopting new strategies to reach particularly at-risk groups.
I want to thank Dame Inga Beale, members of the HIV Oversight Group and the Independent HIV Commission for their tireless work in supporting us to develop this Plan.”.
To a large extent, Towards Zero: the HIV Action Plan for England 2022-25 has given campaigners what they are looking for – a firm commitment and plan for how to achieve ambitious targets.
However, “proof is in the pudding.” If we are going to hit these targets and retain that “world-leader” status, then a renewed focus must be placed upon implementation. We have come a long way in 40 years. It was a genuine death sentence to be diagnosed with HIV. Now, you can live a normal life with a diagnosis. With the recent news of an injection to replace tablets, science is helping to transform people’s lives. An action plan that collaborates with clinical researchers and innovators will improve lives in ways that were unthinkable 40 years ago.
This World AIDS Day, let’s all come together to remember those that we have lost and work with a renewed vigour to reduce the inequalities that drive HIV diagnosis. We can do more to end the stigma and find a cure. Let this be our challenge.