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HIV Action Plan

Volume 704: debated on Wednesday 1 December 2021

The government are committed to achieving zero new HIV infections and AIDS and HIV-related deaths in England by 2030. Today I am pleased to announce the publication of a new action plan which will drive forward progress towards delivering on this commitment and sets out how we will achieve our interim ambition of an 80% reduction in new infections by 2025. To support this, NHS England and NHS Improvement will expand opt-out testing in emergency departments in the highest prevalence local authority areas, a proven effective way to identify new cases, and will invest £20 million over the next three years to support this activity. It is timely that we publish our plan shortly ahead of World AIDS Day to underline again our commitment to tackling HIV, show our support for people living with HIV and remember those we have lost to AIDS.

The reduction in HIV transmission in England is a success story. There was a 35% reduction in new HIV diagnoses in England between 2014 and 2019. In 2019 an estimated 94% of people living with HIV had been diagnosed, 98% of those diagnosed were on treatment, and 97% of those on treatment had an undetectable viral load, meaning they cannot pass on the infection.

However, our ambitions are highly stretching and will require a doubling down on existing efforts and the adoption of new strategies to ensure we reach everyone we need to. We will need to maintain the excellent progress made with key groups—gay and bisexual men, younger adults, those in London—and significantly improve diagnoses for other groups. To achieve this, the HIV action plan sets out how we will ensure that partners across the health system and beyond maintain and intensify partnership working around four core themes, prevent, test, treat and retain. We will enhance, expand and bring together single elements of evidence-based HIV prevention activities into a comprehensive combination prevention programme. Components include preventing people from acquiring HIV, ensuring those who acquire HIV are diagnosed promptly, preventing onward transmission from those with diagnosed infection and delivering interventions which aim to improve the health and quality of life of people with HIV.

A national HIV Action Plan Implementation Steering Group, chaired by Kevin Fenton and comprising of all key partners, including the voluntary sector, will ensure we drive forward progress in line with our aims, and we will make an annual report to Parliament on our progress.

I would like to thank Dame Inga Beale, members of the HIV Oversight Group, the Independent HIV Commission, and all those that have helped for their excellent work in supporting the development of our plan. The action plan sets out how we will continue to work together with all those who share our ambition to achieve zero new HIV infections. The publication of the plan today is an important step towards achieving our goal.