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HIV Diagnoses Among Gay, Bi Men in UK Drop to Lowest Level in Decades

Photo by Marcelo Chagas from Pexels

New transmissions are dropping among queer men, but also among all Britons.

Public Health England reports that new HIV diagnoses in the United Kingdom have dropped 10 percent from 2018 to 2019, with new infections among gay and bisexual men also showing a significant decline.

There were 4,580 HIV diagnoses in Britain in 2018 and 4,139 in 2019. Health officials heralded the news, especially since new HIV diagnoses have dropped a staggering 34 percent from a 2014 peak of 6,312 transmissions.

Health officials recorded 1,700 new HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual British men last year, the smallest number since the year 2000. Medical professionals and researchers cite the increasing use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), HIV testing, condom usage, and antiretroviral therapy — which, if adhered to, makes it nearly impossible for someone to transit HIV to another person — as responsible for the statistics.

When it comes to PrEP, the National Health Service has helped make the drug more readily available to the British public.

The successful numbers don't mean there isn't room for improvement. PHE notes that treatment adherence is an issue with some people living with HIV and that many of those with new diagnoses were in advanced stages of the disease or were already suffering from AIDS. 

Regardless, the PHE report is encouraging for the United Kingdom and others that want to follow its lead.

“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," Dr. Valerie Delpech, head of HIV surveillance at PHE, told The Guardian

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Neal Broverman