World AIDS Day (1 December) offers a chance to recollect those that have died from an AIDS-related sickness and present help for these dwelling with HIV.
The newest information in England
The latest data reveals that while new HIV diagnoses in England fell by almost a 3rd between 2019 and 2021 and transmission of the virus continued to say no amongst homosexual, bisexual and different males who’ve intercourse with males (GBMSM), the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed progress in direction of HIV elimination – particularly in heterosexual adults.
In 2021, there have been an estimated 4,400 individuals unaware of their HIV an infection, which is round 5% of all individuals estimated to be dwelling with HIV in England (95,900). An estimated 1,500 GBMSM had been dwelling with an undiagnosed HIV an infection in contrast with 1,100 heterosexual males and 1,500 heterosexual girls.
HIV prevention hinges on decreasing the variety of individuals with a transmissible HIV an infection by means of testing, which in flip will cut back the variety of undiagnosed people.
Homosexual, bisexual and males with have intercourse with males ought to have an HIV check and STI display no less than yearly, or each three months if they’re having intercourse with out condoms with new or informal companions. Black African women and men are suggested to have an HIV check, and a STI display frequently, if they’re having intercourse with out condoms with new or informal companions.
Realizing your standing
Getting examined is the one option to know when you have HIV, and that data is significant so you may get the proper help and remedy to your personal well being, in addition to defend well being in native communities.
In England, HIV and wider STI testing is free, confidential, and extra handy than ever, together with on-line self-sampling companies. This implies you possibly can take samples within the consolation and privateness of your personal dwelling after which ship the package away to get your outcomes. You may as well discover a native sexual well being service on the NHS website by way of their sexual well being service locator.
Homosexual, bisexual and males who’ve intercourse with males (GBMSM) and black African women and men are disproportionately susceptible to buying HIV, which is why realizing your standing is likely one of the strongest instruments you possibly can have to your personal well being, and to assist in the struggle ending HIV.
The significance of PrEP
It’s essential for these eligible to take up the provide of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) in case you are in danger from HIV (for instance having intercourse with new or informal companions). PrEP is a small pill that with constant use can cease somebody from getting HIV throughout intercourse with out condoms.
In 2021, 61,092 individuals began or continued taking PrEP however inequalities in entry nonetheless exist – London residents, GBMSM and folks over 35 usually tend to have a necessity for PrEP recognized, which leaves these exterior of London and youthful age teams trailing behind the capital.
Whereas extremely efficient at stopping HIV, PrEP gained’t defend you in opposition to different STIs like chlamydia or gonorrhoea and gained’t forestall being pregnant.
In case you are HIV optimistic, beginning remedy early means you possibly can stay a full and wholesome life and keep away from passing on HIV to others.
In 2021, an estimated 11,985 individuals dwelling with HIV had transmissible ranges of the virus. Solely 37% of those had been undiagnosed, the rest weren’t in care, not on remedy or had not but achieved undetectable standing. You will have heard the phrase U=U (Undetectable=Untransmissable) used, the place HIV ranges are extraordinarily low within the blood menaing you’re undetectable or virally suppressed and at this stage, you possibly can’t go on HIV throughout intercourse.
Participating with HIV companies and attending appointments will assist be sure that you’re on efficient remedy – retaining you wholesome and retaining detectable ranges of HIV in your blood undetectable.
While PrEP or an undetectable HIV standing has revolutionised intercourse lives for these in danger from HIV or dwelling with HIV, it is also essential to recollect different secure intercourse practices, like utilizing condoms, cease different STIs from spreading.
Extra data on HIV
You will discover out extra about HIV, testing and remedy on the NHS website. Charities such because the Terrence Higgins Trust even have a variety of sources and knowledge on HIV and different sexual well being points.
Extra data on STI testing
Learn our weblog on using a self-sampling STI kit.