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HIV Commission launched to end transmissions by 2030

Nick Duffy July 22, 2019
Blood samples of people who took an HIV test

Blood samples of people who took an HIV test (Artyom Geodakyan/Getty)

An independent HIV Commission has launched in England, with a target of helping to end transmissions within a decade.

Launched on Monday (July 22), the new independent government-backed commission formed by charities Terrence Higgins Trust and National AIDS Trust.

The commission will host a series of community events, a public online consultation, and a national call for evidence from those directly impacted by HIV, before publishing recommendations to achieve a government target of ending new transmissions by 2030.

Dame Inga Beale to chair new HIV Commission

The commission will be chaired by Dame Inga Beale, the former CEO of Lloyd’s of London, who said in a statement: “We have a unique opportunity to end new HIV transmission in England. We will develop evidence-based recommendations to make this happen within a decade.

“The preventative tools we have are working to reduce HIV transmission in many parts of the country. The commission will look at what we need to do to build on this progress to stop HIV in its tracks for everyone.

“We will be working with experts from the science and public health communities, and drawing on the expertise and experience of people living with HIV, businesses, the voluntary sector and the public to develop a credible way to make England the first country in the world to achieve this ambition.

“This is a big challenge, but it’s one we can achieve if we harness the resources and capability that has made the UK a pioneer in HIV prevention, treatment and support for nearly 40 years.”

Dame Inga Beale will chair the new HIV Commission
Dame Inga Beale will chair the new HIV Commission (BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty)

Other commissioners include former Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders, former Tory health minister Steve Brine and Labour MP Wes Streeting.

HIV diagnoses in the UK have fallen drastically over the past few years, with the UK becoming one of the first countries to meet UNAIDS 2020 prevention targets.

UK government vows to end HIV transmission by 2030

Government health minister Seema Kennedy said: “We are determined to eradicate HIV transmissions in England by 2030 and we must find new, innovative and progressive ways of doing so.

“I welcome this new commission which will speak to people who are living with HIV and learn about their personal experiences, an important part of finding new ways to end HIV for good.”

In the 1980s and early 1990s an HIV diagnosis was a death sentence, but now we’re aiming to end new HIV transmissions in England over the next 10 years.

Ian Green, Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “In the 1980s and early 1990s an HIV diagnosis was a death sentence, but now we’re aiming to end new HIV transmissions in England over the next 10 years.

“That’s incredible progress by anyone’s standards but we need a clear plan for achieving this ambitious target if we’re to make it a reality.

“That’s why we’ve worked hard to assemble an exceptional group of people to map out the journey we need to take.”

Deborah Gold, Chief Executive at National AIDS Trust, said: “It’s a testament to the phenomenal progress we’ve made in our fight against HIV that we’re able to conceive bringing an end to new transmissions in England within a generation.

“To get there we must find ways of tackling the appalling levels of stigma surrounding HIV, and significantly increase the reach of testing and other prevention activities.

“Our story of progress has been one of communities working together: people living with HIV, charities, Government, health services, doctors and nurses, business, faith leaders.

“An independent commission – bringing together leaders from across society – is the right way to launch the next, and hopefully last, phase in this fight.”

More: AIDS, HIV, HIV Commission, UK

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