HIV diagnoses are falling in the UK, meaning the spread of the AIDS virus is slowing down. News out today from Public Health England indicates that UNAIDS 90:90:90 targets have been met both in the UK overall and in England.
However, nearly half of people (43%) who test positive are finding out they have HIV very late, meaning the virus may have damaged their health permanently.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that damages the cells in your immune system and weakens your ability to fight everyday infections and disease.
AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is the name used to describe a number of potentially life-threatening infections and illnesses that happen when your immune system has been severely damaged by the HIV virus. Read more here.
There are still over 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK. Globally, there are an estimated 36.7 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
There’s no cure and people still face ignorance and discrimination that can limit their opportunities, preventing them from living full and happy lives.
HIV means you are more likely to live in poverty, and are more likely to suffer from poor mental health.
We must continue to build on this progress, to end new transmissions for good. Although there has been steady progression in implementing combination prevention measures to end the HIV epidemic and the efforts are having a major effect, there still remain opportunities for further improvements.
World AIDS Day - December 1st (this Saturday) - is an opportunity to show solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV worldwide.