One year after the HIV Commission released its report, the UK Government has published its HIV Action Plan detailing how it will meet its commitment to end new HIV cases in England by 2030.
Here’s a statement from the Foundation:
Today, we welcome the Government’s HIV action plan to reach the 2030 goal of zero new HIV transmissions in the UK – a goal that is entirely within reach. It crucially leads with £20M of new funding for opt-out HIV testing to find those who are living with HIV and unaware of their diagnosis in places with the greatest need. The clear data from Elton John AIDS Foundation’s world first HIV Social Impact Bond (SIB) shared compelling evidence with the UK Government from the last three years on the importance of opt-out HIV testing in Emergency Departments and GP practices, particularly in finding people who are not using other services that would find provide an HIV diagnosis. Through the SIB, we have found 200 individuals living with HIV in 3 boroughs of South London from this model. This innovation has shown that stigma-free testing options provide results and connect people to care. With thanks to our partners at Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust and GP Federations who have proved this life-saving practice works, this will now be expanded across the country funded by the Government to ensure more people are diagnosed and on treatment.
We look forward to continuing to work with the UK Government to reach the interim target of 80% reduction in new cases by 2025 with the ultimate goal down to zero new cases in 2030 and welcome the commitment to annual reporting to Parliament. Now, we need improved at-home testing, PrEP provision in primary care, better post-diagnosis support and an enhanced focus on the health inequalities and stigma which continue to exacerbate HIV to ensure the life-changing goal is achieved.
Anne Aslett, CEO of Elton John AIDS Foundation said: ‘There are still an undiagnosed 6600 people living with HIV in this country and 5350 people who are aware of their status but not on treatment. We are delighted that Elton John AIDS Foundation’s work in supporting new HIV diagnosis through the health system has contributed to the Government’s understanding of the value of opt-out HIV testing in Emergency Departments, particularly in reaching vulnerable groups. Now, we need to reach all communities across the country with prevention and care to make zero new infections a reality.’
Elton John, Founder of Elton John AIDS Foundation said: ‘Today’s news of the UK Government’s commitment to provide £20M to opt-out HIV testing underscores how critical the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Social Impact Bond in south London has been over the past three years and we’re proud that this life-saving work for vulnerable communities will continue across the country.’