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Huge Drop Reported in HIV Cases In Gay Men In England Because of PrEP

 

The Telegraph reports:

The downward trend was boosted by London, traditionally an area of high prevalence, where new cases among gay and bisexual men fell 29 per cent.

Health officials said the improved picture was due to more regular and frequent testing, as well as quicker diagnosis and treatment.

But the Terrence Higgins Trust, which campaigns on behalf of HIV patients, said access to the controversial new drug PrEP (preexposure prophylaxis), which the NHS has been legally obliged to start funding, would also contribute to the fall in cases.

The medication, which is taken in pill form before sex, reduces the risk of infection by approximately 86 per cent.

It is expensive, however, and other patient groups, such as those with rare cancers, have said funding for their treatments have suffered due to its cost.

PHE’s Dr Valerie Delpech said the recent trend “is clear evidence that HIV prevention efforts are working across the United Kingdom.”

New cases have decreased from 2,060 in 2014-15 to 1,700 in 2015-16, while in London there was an even steeper drop.

Scotland has announced it will make Prep available on the NHS (National Health Service) to people at risk of HIV . And in Wales, the government has decided to start trialing the drug.

Deborah Gold, chief executive of the National Aids Trust, said: “These are incredibly exciting times for HIV.

“We are on the precipice of an absolute step-change in HIV prevention.”

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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