Local government has played a key role in helping reduce the number of new diagnoses of HIV – and the roll-out of PrEP in 2020 could help us reduce infection further.
According to the Terrence Higgins Trust, an estimated 103,800 people were living with HIV in the UK in 2018, with 7,500 of those unaware of their infection.
In January 2019, the Government committed to ending transmission of HIV in England by 2030, and ultimately ending an epidemic that has affected so many in this country, and millions more across the world, since HIV first emerged in the early 1980s.
Over recent years we have seen a welcome decline in the number of people newly diagnosed with HIV for the first time, although the decline is slowing or starting to plateau. It has been driven by falls in the number of new diagnoses among gay and bisexual men. This fall was achieved thanks to the hard work and commitment of many across the system, from local government sexual health commissioners to the activists working in and for the communities they represent, supporting a combination of HIV prevention strategies.
While no single approach on its own is a ‘silver bullet’, a key part of HIV prevention is pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, a daily medication to help prevent HIV that is recommended for people at high risk. PrEP has the potential to help us reduce infection still further, getting us closer to zero transmission.
A PrEP impact trial – the largest single study of its type in the world – began in October 2017, and will help inform the potential roll out of PrEP nationwide later this year.
In 2020, PrEP will be made routinely available via your local authority-commissioned health service. The following frequently asked questions (FAQs) will help answer many of the questions you may have about the move to the routine commissioning of PrEP.
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