Last November, an article, in British newspaper The Telegraph, announced that the UK had met UN targets on the diagnosis, treatment and transmission of HIV epidemic fight for the first time, amid falling numbers of infections from the virus.
UNAids established global 90-90-90 targets in 2014. The aim was to diagnose 90 per cent of people living with HIV, provide 90 per cent of them with treatment, and suppress the virus in 90 per cent of those receiving care by 2020.
Around 102,000 people are living with HIV in the UK, but new infections fell by 17 per cent between 2016 and 2017. Just eight per cent of those with the disease are thought to be unaware of their status.
HIV fight new achievements in the UK
- 92 per cent of people living with HIV are diagnosed,
- 98 per cent are receiving treatment and
- 97 per cent have the virus suppressed to a level that they can no longer pass it on. This is significantly higher than global averages.
Efforts to end the HIV epidemic are working
According to the report from Public Health England (PHE), these figures demonstrate that efforts to end the HIV epidemic are working. Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said the UK’s achievement was a “poignant and powerful” reminder of progress.
“Many of us will remember a time when an HIV positive result was effectively a death sentence. Today’s report is a poignant and powerful reminder of how far we’ve come,” he said. “Now in the UK, almost everyone with HIV is not only diagnosed and in treatment but living long, healthy lives.”
In reaching the goals, the UK has joined Botswana, Cambodia, Denmark, Swaziland, Namibia and the Netherlands, who reached the UNAids target in July. Read our global review special report on the issue
Cities conference on urban HIV – “Fast-Track Cities 2019″
Now, a press release from UNAids (09/09/2019) has announced that Delegates from more than 300 municipalities joined the global Fast-Track Cities conference on urban HIV, tuberculosis, and viral hepatitis in London.
Organized by the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), in collaboration with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and other partners, the Fast-Track Cities 2019 conference was held from September 9-11, 2019, at the Barbican Centre. The conference’s aim was “to highlight successes achieved across the Fast-Track Cities network, address cross-cutting challenges faced by local stakeholders, and share best practices in accelerating urban AIDS responses, inclusive of co-infectious diseases such as TB and viral hepatitis”. The conference featured plenary sessions, panel discussions, and abstract presentations by representatives from more than 300 Fast-Track Cities.
HIV epidemic fight significant achievements
When London joined the Fast-Track Cities initiative in January 2018, the city had already met the UNAids 90-90-90 targets, which are defined as 90% of people living with HIV knowing their status, 90% of people who know their status accessing HIV treatment, and 90% of people accessing HIV treatment achieving viral suppression. FTC London, a pan-city group of stakeholders steering the city’s Fast-Track Cities engagement, has made outreach to the black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) community a priority in their “London Getting to Zero” strategy. Speaking at the conference, London Mayor Sadiq Khan reiterated the bold ambition for London to achieve the target of no new HIV infections, deaths, and stigma by 2030.
Any disease that affects 36.7 million people, spreads to 1.8 million every year and kills one million people annually around the world is worthy of our concern.
The news that the UK has this year met UN 90-90-90 targets for the diagnosis, treatment and transmission of HIV has a dual lesson:
- It is possible to stop the spread of HIV; and
- It is urgent to reduce healthcare inequality in the world. West countries’ policies have to make outreach to the black, Asian, and minority ethnics community should be a priority.
From a bioethics point of view, in our opinion, one of the most urgent matters to resolve is that over eight million people who are HIV positive around the world have not yet been diagnosed. (1)
- (1) “HIV Testing—Approximately 79% of people with HIV globally knew their HIV status in 2018. The remaining 21% (about 8.1 million people) still need access to HIV testing services. HIV testing is an essential gateway to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.” (Read The Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic HIV.go. July 31, 2019).
Bioethics Observatory – Institute of Life Sciences
Catholic University of Valencia