Today we've signed a cross-party statement calling on the Government to step up their work to end new HIV transmissions by 2030. You can read it here👇
This year marks 40 years since the first cases of HIV were reported globally. Since then, thanks to the tireless and tenacious efforts of people affected by HIV, HIV activists, allies, and people living with HIV, huge progress has been made. It has taken us to the point where it is now scientifically possible to end new HIV transmissions in the UK.
The UK Government has pledged to make this a reality by 2030 and achieve an 80% reduction in new HIV transmissions by 2025. We all support this pledge but are determined to do all we can so Ministers make good on their promises.
Despite the UK having the tools to prevent new cases of HIV, 80 lives are changed forever every week with an HIV diagnosis. Over half a million people leave a sexual health clinic without being offered a HIV test. People living with HIV still experience abhorrent levels of stigma and discrimination.
That's why the UK Government's new HIV Action Plan must deliver change. We are united in our call for this plan to thread equity and ambition throughout the document and be fully funded. Only then can we make a step-change to reaching the 2025 and 2030 goals.
LGBT+ people, in particular gay and bisexual men, and trans people, experience significant inequalities in access to healthcare and shoulder some of the highest rates of new HIV diagnoses. While racially minoritised LGBT+ people face even more barriers in accessing HIV prevention services. Rooting out these inequalities is fundamental to ensuring everyone can feel progress.
HIV testing must be normalised and accessible at home in all parts of the country. In areas where there are high rates of HIV, a HIV test should be offered as standard in all A&E departments and GP surgeries.
We want to see increased action on expanding access to the HIV prevention drug, PrEP, so it can get into the hands of more people who could benefit from its life-changing benefits. That means starting with putting PrEP into pharmacies and GP surgeries and making a commitment within the HIV Action Plan to fund a pilot and to urgently start this work.
Ministers must also step up mental health and overall wellbeing support given to people living with HIV. People living with HIV are still twice as likely to experience poor mental health which is often fuelled by stigma and misinformation within society. The government must demonstrate leadership in tackling this through greater funding for HIV mental health support a high profile public awareness campaign to tackle stigmatising attitudes towards HIV.
Over the last four decades, HIV has devastated so many LGBT+ lives and our community has faced hardship in our fight for greater political action on HIV. As LGBT+ people, we stand on the shoulders of giants in what has been achieved in the fight against HIV. We are united in our determination to see an end to new HIV transmissions in the UK and support people living with HIV.
Now we urge the UK Government to step up and do the same in its new HIV Action Plan by fully funding the fight and taking the decisions required to end new cases of HIV by 2030.