Thank you for contacting me about action to tackle HIV/AIDS.
I know that good progress has been made in terms of falling numbers of HIV diagnoses across England, however, more remains to be done including preventing late diagnosis. That is why I support the Government’s commitment to become the first nation in the wWorld to reach zero HIV transmissions by 2030.
On World AIDS Day 2021, the Government published its HIV Action Plan which included an interim commitment to an 80 per cent reduction in transmission by 2025. This builds on the nation’s success in diagnosing over 90 per cent of people who live with HIV and ensuring that over 90 per cent of those who are diagnosed are getting treatment.
To deliver the plan, the Government is providing £20 million to scale up HIV testing among higher risk people, including £3.5 million to deliver a National HIV Prevention Programme between 2021 and 2024.
Opt-out testing has been a great success in the pilot sites of London, Manchester, Blackpool and Brighton, with 128 people newly diagnosed with HIV after 100 days. The Government is currently examining the evidence from the first year of opt out testing to consider the feasibility of expanding the programme.
I welcome the Government’s continued work with charities such as the Terence Higgins Trust and the World AIDS Day initiative, to raise awareness of HIV and reach groups with the highest rates of the infection.
I fully appreciate the intention of the National AIDS Trust’s campaign to remove barriers to fertility treatment for people living with HIV. As you may be aware, my colleague Maria Caufield – the Minister for Primary Care – clarified in December 2022 that the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs had established a working group to review the current guidelines on gamete donation. The Advisory Committee’s work will include consideration of its position on gamete donors with HIV, and I understand that the Department of Health and Social Care will consider any advice that may result from this review.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.