The Government has bolstered its commitment to achieve zero new HIV infections, AIDS and HIV related deaths in England by 2030 via a new action plan backed by £23 million of funding.
Current HIV prevention methods are working – with a 35% reduction in new HIV diagnoses in England between 2014 and 2019. This represents one of the biggest decreases worldwide.
The action plan, which has launched to mark World Aids Day, will:
- prevent new infections by expanding and improving well-proven HIV prevention activities, investing £3.5 million in a National HIV Prevention Programme over 2021 to 2024 and increasing access to PrEP for key groups continues
- scale up HIV testing in high-risk populations where uptake is low to ensure new infections are identified rapidly. This will include expanding opt-out testing in A&E departments backed by an additional £20 million over the next 3 years
- ensure people rapidly receive treatment to stop them transmitting the infection further and increase their chances of living a long, healthy life as well as supporting everyone living with HIV to stay in treatment
Health and Social Care Secretary, 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."
The Government will commit to annually updating Parliament on the progress towards the 2030 target to end all new HIV transmissions and a new, national oversight group – the HIV action plan Implementation Steering Group – will be established to closely monitor progress and ensure current actions are on track to meet the 2025 and 2030 targets.
Additionally, new funding of £20 million will be invested over the next 3 years to roll out opt-out testing in NHS emergency departments within all local authority areas with 5 or more cases of HIV per 1,000 residents. This will make it easier to reach Black African groups as well as heterosexual, gay and bisexual men who might not attend sexual health services regularly and are missing opportunities to test for HIV.
Dr Valerie Delpech, Head of HIV Surveillance at the UK Health Security Agency, said: "We have already made great progress in bringing down HIV transmission in England, but there is still a way to go. The steepest declines have been in white, gay and bisexual men who live in London.
"We are committed to preventing HIV in everyone regardless of ethnicity, sexual orientation and location. To end HIV transmission, we need to diagnose people early, start treatment quickly and make sure people stay on that treatment to ensure their virus is not detectable. People with undetectable virus cannot pass it on to sexual partners, even without condoms or PrEP. The action plan sets out a clear path to achieve this and we will continue to learn from and share best practice with our partners. Together we will reach our goal of ending HIV transmission by 2030."