A report by the Terrence Higgins Trust called 2020 Vision: Making England’s HIV Prevention Response The Best in the World. was published last month.
The report says that increasing testing by 125% would decrease new infection rates by a third. This is because people who are HIV positive usually become more responsible about their behaviour with regards to their sexual practices, and also, by starting a medical regime, they can reduce their viral load, and make it far less likely that they will infect new people. Without this medication, viral loads and the likelihood of passing on the virus remain high.
The report highlights the NHS’s excellent record in HIV treatment and helping those who are HIV positive keep their viral load low to make them unlikely to pass the virus on, but says that more can be done to prevent new infections from those who are HIV positive, but do not know it. Therefore increasing the number of people having an HIV test should find more people who are undiagnosed so that they can access the same life saving care.
Dr Valerie Delpech, head of HIV surveillance at Public Health England, said: “It’s vital we invest in HIV prevention, to address the social and structural barriers that mean too many people are currently not being tested and to reduce new HIV infections across the UK.”
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