An important action plan on reducing HIV transmission in England has been published. The ‘Towards Zero: the HIV Action Plan for England – 2022 to 2025’ paper sets out ambitious objectives such as an 80% reduction in new HIV infections in England by 2025. Progress on tackling HIV has been made already, such as the fulfilment of the UNAIDS 90-90-90 target for 3 years in a row. This means that England is diagnosing over 90% of people who live with HIV, over 90% of those who are diagnosed are getting treatment, and over 90% of those who are treated have quantities of HIV so small that it is undetectable.
The Government has said that it is committed to achieving zero new HIV infections, AIDS and HIV-related deaths in England by 2030. NHS England is expanding opt-out testing in emergency departments in the highest prevalence local authority areas, and receiving funds of £20 million to support this process. A national HIV Action Plan Implementation Steering Group has also been announced to drive forward progress in achieving the key aims of the Plan.
The Action Plan sets out aims to reduce the number of people first diagnosed in England from 2,860 in 2019, to under 600 in 2025. To do this, industry partners, local authorities and health services must “expand, improve, tailor and innovate – to ensure we reach everyone at risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV and deliver effective combination prevention including testing, treatment and care”.
Health Minister, Maggie Throup, said: “We’re taking action to make sure we’re firmly on track to meet our target in the next nine years – doubling down on existing efforts, and adopting new strategies to reach particularly at-risk groups.”