New HIV diagnoses among gay and bi men in the U.K. have declined sharply over a recent two-year period, reports AIDSMap.
Among men who have sex with other men (MSM), Public Health England recorded 3,390 new HIV diagnoses in 2015; 2,820 diagnoses in 2016; and 2,330 diagnoses in 2017. This amounts to a 31% decline from 2015 to 2017, a shift Public Health England credits to increased HIV testing and improved early uptake in HIV treatment.
Across the board, Public Health England reported a 28% decline in new diagnosis rates over the same two-year period. The report also found that, for the first time in the U.K., HIV diagnosis rates among white heterosexual populations decreased. Heterosexual people of color also exhibited a drop, though less steeply than the general number at 20%.
In the U.S., HIV/AIDS activists continue to successfully push for improved healthcare—including access to preventative drug regimens like pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)—and increased awareness about HIV prevention, testing, and treatments.
But new HIV diagnosis rates are still rising in some areas of the country, including a handful of states in the South, and disproportionately climbing among certain populations, like Latino gay and bisexual men.
Notably, researchers across the pond say it’s too soon to tell how the advent of PrEP has affected new diagnosis rates in the U.K. PrEP, available in the U.S. under the brand name Truvada, has been both heralded as a miracle drug and critiqued for its inaccessibility to populations that need it most.
Last month, a PrEP educator Damon Jacobs told NewNowNext that most people in America on PrEP “pay zero out-of-pocket, or close to it” for the drug. But even lower out-of-pocket costs can be prohibitive for some to pay, especially homeless LGBTQ people, for whom preventative HIV care is often particularly essential.