UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock vowed that England will become the first country to achieve the goal of having no new cases of HIV by 2030.
The United Nations has set global standards for combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic, often referred to as the 90-90-90 target. The goal is for 90% of people living with HIV to be diagnosed, 90% of those diagnosed to be on antiretrovirals, and 90% of people on treatment to have viral suppression.
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The event focused on this initiative. As it stands now, the world is at 75% - 79% - 81%.
Hancock made a pledge of £600,000 for initiatives aimed at reducing transmission and stigma attached to the virus in England.
“HIV and AIDS are challenges that we must rise to. The injustice, the unfairness, and the sadness they have brought must be tackled by us all,” he is expected to say. “My generation grew up knowing Aids was a potential death sentence. That doesn’t have to be the case anymore.”
"We can be the first country in the world to eliminate HIV transmission."@MattHancock speaks at #AIDSfree forum today to detail our ambitious plans to end new transmissions of HIV in the UK.— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) January 30, 2019
By 2030 the UK will have 0 new #HIV transmissions. @ejafpic.twitter.com/9BonlwHFkx
Hancock also committed £1.5 million to the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the Independent reported.
In 2012, there were 2,700 new HIV cases in gay and bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men in the UK — that number decreased to 1,200 in 2017. Ninety-six percent of people who have been diagnosed are on treatment and 94% have an “undetectable viral load,” which means HIV cannot be transmitted, according to the Telegraph.
For black Africans and Caribbeans, new diagnoses have dropped by 77% and by 31% for white heterosexual men.
The health secretary believes that the end of the virus is within the grasp of the country.
“Thanks to medical breakthroughs, public health campaigns, breaking down stigma and better education, AIDS is no longer a death sentence here,” he said.