HIV diagnosis rates continue at unacceptably high levels says NAT (National AIDS Trust)
Today Public Health England has released new data on diagnoses of HIV in 2015. The data shows that rates of HIV diagnosis remain stubborn at over 6,000 per year.
In response to the new data Yusef Azad, Director of Strategy at NAT, said, “This shows just how inadequate our current HIV prevention efforts are in the UK. We are as a nation sitting back and allowing the HIV epidemic to get worse.
“The high number of new HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men shows that we need to do much more to halt the epidemic. Spending money now on prevention saves the NHS budget millions in the near future. We need both to expand current prevention activity and also introduce PrEP as soon as possible, a new prevention option which would mean we at last see reductions in rates of HIV.”
Late diagnosis rates are reported at 39%. This means that two in five people are diagnosed at a point at which they are likely to have had the virus for more than three years. It has serious implications for the health of the individual and increases the risk that HIV be passed on to others as the person is unaware and not on treatment.
Yusef Azad added, “We need to dramatically improve access to testing. We welcome the gradual decrease in late diagnosis rates over the past 10 years, but it’s still not good enough that we are missing so many opportunities to diagnose people earlier. Now we know just how effective HIV treatment is - not only at giving an individual a long and healthy life but at reducing transmission rates - we have to dramatically upgrade testing efforts and normalise testing for HIV.”
Notes to the editor:
1. About NAT
NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expertise and practical resources. We champion the rights of people living with HIV and campaign for change.
Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.
www.lifewithHIV.org – a resource for HIV positive people
www.HIVaware.org.uk – what everyone should know about HIV
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 020 7814 6767
2. PHE data release
The PHE data can be found here.