London Mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan has warned against complacency on HIV – after statistics showed that a disproportionate amount of Londoners are living with HIV.
The Labour MP for Tooting obtained stats from health minister Jane Ellison, after submitting a Parliamentary question on the issue.
The data shows that the proportion of people living with HIV in London is now three times the average across England, in line with stats from Public Health England.
27777 Londoners were living with HIV in 2010, but the number has risen to 32537 by 2014. This accounts for 0.61% of the population – compared to 0.21% across England on average.
In 2014, London accounted for 45 per cent of all people diagnosed as HIV+ in England – with a breakdown showing 30 out of 32 London boroughs have above-average rates of HIV.
In a statement to PinkNews, Mr Khan said: “These statistics show a huge rise in the prevalence of HIV+ in London – and behind each of these statistics is a story of human suffering and sadness.
“While treatment for HIV sufferers has improved rapidly over my lifetime, we can’t afford to be complacent about HIV prevention.
“We need a renewed focus on the prevention of HIV to match the huge progress made in the 1980s and 1990s.
“As Mayor, I’ll make HIV prevention a top priority within public health.”
In a blog for PinkNews in November, Public Health Minister Jane Ellison said she was “determined to reverse” the surge in HIV infections among gay and bisexual men, announcing HIV home-testing kits will be nationally available for free for at-risk groups.
She wrote: “Sadly, we are seeing increases not just in HIV infections among gay men and men who have sex with men (MSM), but also rises in syphilis and gonorrhoea.
“Figures show that in the UK, one in twenty MSM are HIV positive, rising to one in eleven in London.
“Around 17 percent of people with HIV are unaware of their infection, so are unable to access treatment or prevent onward transmission.”
“This concerning trend continues, with 3,360 new infections among MSM in 2014, an increase of 110 when compared to the number in 2013. Worryingly, risk-taking continues, with trends such as chemsex presenting new challenges.
“I am determined to reverse this trend.”