HIV groups urge Tories to ‘play their part’ to end HIV in UK by 2030

Chancellor Rishi Sunak pictured at a press conference in 2020 (Matt Dunham / WPA Pool / Getty)

35 leading HIV charities, LGBT + groups and healthcare organizations are urging the government to pledge to fully fund its pledge to end the transmission of HIV in the UK by 2030.

More than 1,000 days after pledging to end the UK’s HIV epidemic, the government has yet to “turn those words into action,” according to a letter to Rishi Sunak on Thursday (September 30).

Signed by the Terrence Higgins Trust, the National AIDS Trust and the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the letter calls on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to fully fund the government’s new HIV action plan.

“Every week 80 lives in the UK are changed forever because they are diagnosed with HIV,” they write. “It has now been 40 years since the first cases of HIV were reported and, despite huge medical advances that mean HIV is no longer a death sentence, preventable HIV cases continue to occur.

“It doesn’t have to be that way. You have the power to change that in the next Comprehensive Spending Review – you can help end the UK HIV epidemic. It has been almost 1,000 days since the government committed to doing so by 2030. Time is running out now.

Letter Highlights Phenomenal Response to Channel 4 Drama It’s a sin, which depicts the “excruciating destruction” caused by the virus at the start of the epidemic.

The show galvanized thousands to get tested, many for the first time in their lives, and prompted many to demand political action to end new transmissions over the decade.

“Now the government has to play its part,” charities say frankly.

“Across the UK there are at least 6,600 people living with HIV who are not diagnosed. There are still over half a million people who leave a sexual health clinic but do not get tested for HIV.
And there are still people who are diagnosed so late that their health is irreversibly affected. “

In 2019, the government said its work to stop new transmissions would be supported by £ 600,000 from Public Health England’s HIV Prevention Innovation Fund.

This money has been earmarked for ’13 innovative UK programs’ to help reduce the risk of contracting the virus and reduce stigma.

More than two years later, the HIV action plan still has not been fully funded, the letter says. More is desperately needed to expand HIV testing, increase funding for HIV prevention, strengthen support for people living with the disease, and establish new national HIV prevention programs and campaigns.

These campaigns must inform and educate people about the realities of the virus in 2021, by stopping the stigma, in particular by sharing more widely the effectiveness of the treatment and the messages Undetectable = Intransmissible.

“Action now will have a huge impact and put the country on track to end transmissions by the end of the decade,” the letter continued. “History will look with benevolence on the leadership and financial commitment that has been taken to fight to end new cases in this manner.”

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