At the moment, we aren’t seeing an end to HIV, and the latest figures from Public Health England on HIV transmissions remain stubbornly high at over 6,000 new infections a year. This has been the same for a while and we aren’t seeing any significant reductions among any of the groups most at risk.
We are, however, on the cusp of new possibilities so long as adequate investment is available. We know that if someone has HIV and they're on treatment, often they can’t pass it on to anyone else. That means that the more people who are tested and given the required treatment, the fewer people able to pass on HIV there will be. The majority of new HIV infections stem from people who don’t know they are HIV positive. Finding those people and helping them access treatment could radically reduce transmissions.
Then there’s Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a pill that can be taken daily that can almost eliminate the risk of contracting HIV. It’s a preventative measure that has been found to be highly effective, and could help to turn the tide on the epidemic.
The combination of education, early testing and the use of PrEP could really change the state of HIV in the world today: what is required is the political will to make that happen.
HIV activists call for the availabililty of PrEP Photo: torbakhopper