LONDON — New cases of HIV among gay and bisexual British men have been slashed by 21 percent in just a year, official new data shows according to the Daily Mail and other U.K. outlets.
It is the first time such cases in this high-risk group have decreased since the deadly epidemic started to make headway in the 1980s. Experts say it stems from quicker testing, fast treatment and PrEP, a controversial drug that can prevent those exposed to HIV from becoming infected.
Government figures show there were just 2,810 cases of HIV among gay and bisexual men in 2016, down from the 3,570 recorded the year before, the Daily Mail reports.
Public Health England officials that presented the data, claim it is the “most exciting development in the U.K. HIV epidemic in 20 years.”
Londoners were shown to have the steepest decline in new cases among gay and bisexual men, with a 29 percent fall over the course of 12 months. The findings suggest that PrEP, which was available as part of a drug trial at eight clinics in London, may have helped, the Daily Mail reports.
Trials have shown that PrEP, also known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, is 92 percent effective at preventing HIV as long as the pills are taken every day.