AIDSFree: Test every NHS patient for HIV to end infections by 2030, says landmark report

Anna Davis
·2-min read
<p>A rapid HIV test being used in the UK</p> (PA)

A rapid HIV test being used in the UK


Every NHS patient in England should be automatically tested for HIV to end new infections by 2030, a landmark report has said.

The HIV Commission, which was set up following The Independent’s AIDSFree campaign, called for everybody to be screened for HIV unless they opt out.

In the report, published to coincide with World Aids Day, the commission urged the government to do more to meet its goal of ending new HIV transmissions in England by 2030.

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, made a public commitment to end HIV infections in England by 2030 at a forum held to mark the end of The Independent’s AIDSFree campaign in 2019.

Following this commitment, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Terrence Higgins Trust and the National AIDS Trust created the HIV Commission to research the best way of achieving the 2030 goal.

In today’s report the HIV Commission warns that England is not yet on track to meet the goal.

It called on Mr Hancock to affirm his commitment for England to be the first country to end new HIV transmissions and to adopt a crucial new milestone – an 80 per cent reduction in transmissions by 2025. It also called for more HIV testing to be carried out.

Dame Inga Beale, chair of the HIV Commission, said: “The message from the HIV Commission is ‘test, test, test’. To find the estimated 5,900 undiagnosed people living with HIV in England, HIV testing must be normalised throughout the health service.”

The AIDSFree Cities Global Forum, at which Mr Hancock announced his goal, was triggered by our campaign, which raised £3.26m and created positive change on an extraordinary scale.

Representatives from the six key cities highlighted in our appeal met at the forum in January 2019 to come up with ways of tackling HIV together.

We showed that in London – and in our appeal cities of Delhi, Nairobi, Maputo, Kiev and Atlanta – more needed to be done.

Since then huge strides have been made, using some of the money raised during our appeal.

These projects include an online therapy service for people living with HIV in London, run by the Terrence Higgins Trust.

Using digital platforms, the project helps to ensure HIV counselling services are easier for clients to access, and the project is set to be scaled up.

In Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya, more than 10,000 young men have received self-test kits.

In Delhi a project aimed at the LGBT+ community, who have previously been left behind, was launched and aims to reach 10,000 people.

In Kiev, more than 75,000 people have accessed information about sexual health and harm reduction from a new online platform.

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