HIV Infections in UK Down According to New Report

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday November 6, 2020

HIV Infections in UK Down According to New Report
  (Source:EDGE Media Library)

A new report by Public Health England (PHE) says the number of HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men in the UK has dropped to its lowest number in 20 years, BBC News reports.

While there were 1,700 new HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men in 2019 — compared to the previous low of 1,500 in 2000 — the overall cases dropped 10% from 4,580 diagnoses in 2018 to 4,139 in 2019. This represents a sharp 34% decline from a peak 6,312 diagnoses in 2014.

Last year, among heterosexual adults, there were 1,600 diagnosed cases, marking the first time numbers have been close between straight and gay and bi people.

Men who have sex with men — or, MSM —are still most at risk of contracting HIV. However, PHE ascribes the decline in such cases is linked to condom and PrEP use, frequent HIV testing, and beginning HIV therapy after soon a positive diagnosis.

Dr. Valerie Delpech, head of HIV surveillance at PHE, said, "frequent HIV testing, the offer of PrEP among those most at risk of HIV, together with prompt treatment among those diagnosed, remain key to ending HIV transmission by 2030. Further progress can only be achieved if we also address the inequalities in reducing HIV transmission that exist around sexuality, ethnicity and geography."

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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