Sadiq Khan calls for ‘urgent action’ as almost half of new HIV cases in London
Sadiq Khan has told PinkNews there needs to be urgent action on HIV infection rates in London, as new figures showing almost half of all new diagnoses were in the capital.
Figures published by Public Health England show that 43% of new infections of HIV were in London.
The Mayor of London told PinkNews: “This report highlights the urgent need to focus on preventing any more Londoners from contracting HIV.
“By working together, London boroughs have done impressive work to improve sexual health and increase HIV testing through the London HIV Prevention Programme’s ‘Do It’ campaign.
“It’s important that we continue to work together to build on the campaign’s success, so I would urge Londoners to find out more and get tested for HIV so it can be treated early and we can get to grips with the infection in the capital.
“Getting tested for HIV has never been easier – you can even do it at home. Visit the DoItLondon website to find out more information.”
There were an estimated 40,250 people living with HIV in London in 2015 – but approximately 4,420 (11%) are thought to be unaware they are infected.
In 2015, the most recent year for which there are figures, published today, 6,095 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in 2015 (4,551 men and 1,537 women).
39% of those diagnosed were at a late stage of the infection, meaning they are at risk of serious illness or dying prematurely.
It’s estimated that as many as one in eight people who are HIV positive don’t know their status, putting themselves and those they have sex with at increased risk.
Dr Valerie Delpech, Head of HIV surveillance at Public Health England, said: ‘It is very worrying that so many people with HIV are living with an undiagnosed infection and may be putting sexual partners at risk.
“Regular HIV testing ensures that people who are unaware of their infection are quickly diagnosed and start receiving safe and effective treatment.
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“There are now several effective ways to prevent HIV transmission.
“We are again working with local authorities to fund the HIV home-sampling test kit, so that those people who are less likely to visit their GP, sexual health clinic for a HIV test – can take the test at home.
“It is essential that health services are aware of the prevalence of HIV in their local area and the potential demand for HIV testing.
“Ultimately, it is important that people avoid the risk of developing HIV by wearing a condom and practicing safe sex.”
Earlier this year, the Labour politician had told PinkNews he would restore the Mayor’s role leading the Pride parade – after previous Mayor Boris Johnson was absent for five years in a row.