The HIV Commission for England have today, on World AIDS Day 2020, published their report which sets out 20 recommendations to get England to zero new HIV infections by 2030.
The report explores how the government, NHS, public health officials and the voluntary sector can bring about the changes needed to end new transmissions before the decade is out – just 500 weeks away.
Twenty action recommendations have been made including transformation of HIV data collection, adoption of innovative testing and treatment technologies, and review of existing legislature that create barriers to HIV progress.
One key recommendation is that opt-out HIV testing should become the norm. With an estimated 6,700 people still living with undiagnosed HIV in England it’s essential that we do everything we can to find these people and help them get access to treatment. Not only will that treatment improve their health but it can also stop them passing HIV onto their sexual partners and unborn children.
Another benefit of moving to opt-out HIV testing in healthcare settings is the normalisation of HIV testing. By adding HIV to the list of tests routinely run whenever you have your blood checked it takes away its stigma, stigma that might stop people asking for a HIV test or a healthcare professional from offering one.
Doctor Steve Taylor, HIV Consultant and Clinical Director of Saving Lives, commented:
“Saving Lives are pleased to see the recommendation of opt-out testing for HIV. As a charity we’ve been saying for years that we’re not going to reach the goal of zero new HIV infections by 2030 unless we adopt opt-out HIV testing across all healthcare settings.”
“By changing a HIV test from being a test you need to request to one that’s run as standard we can start to bring down that undiagnosed number and improve the late diagnosis rate – something that’s proving challenging, especially in the West Midlands.”
To read the HIV Commission Executive Summary and other report documents visit the HIV Commission website.