November 24, 2017 at 1:49 pm EST | by Staff reports
HIV rates dropping for U.K. gay men
HIV diagnoses, HIV cases reported, HIV, resistant, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, gay news, Washington Blade

(Public domain image of a scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1 budding, in green, from cultured lymphocyte by the CDC/C. Goldsmith, P. Feorino, E.L. Palmer and W.R. McManus)

LONDON — While several recent reports have shown that new HIV diagnoses have been falling in U.K. gay men, what really matters is the actual number of new HIV infections, regardless of whether people are diagnosed or not, AIDSmap reports.

This is HIV incidence and Public Health England (PHE) said this week that, according to their current estimates, incidence among gay and bisexual men in England has been falling since 2012. In previous years, PHE has always believed that incidence was stable.

As HIV incidence includes new infections that have not yet been diagnosed, it is inherently difficult to estimate. The method PHE uses is based on the CD4 counts of men diagnosed with HIV — for example, a man diagnosed with HIV at a CD4 count of 400 is likely to have acquired HIV about four years ago. So new diagnosis data collected this year helps refine the estimates of incidence in previous years, AIDSmap reports.

According to the new estimates, infections in gay and bisexual men have been steadily falling for five years: 2,800 infections in 2012, 2100 infections in 2014 and 1,700 infections in 2016, AIDSmap reports.

The figures appear in PHE’s annual surveillance report, issued this week. While most of the key findings have already been reported by AIDSmap in the last few months, some interesting extra details are provided. And there is a great deal of new data on HIV testing, covered in another article.

The estimated figures for people with undiagnosed HIV have been falling, bringing England close to meeting the United Nations 90-90-90 targets. It is estimated that 88 percent of people living with HIV have been diagnosed, 96 percent of those diagnosed are taking treatment and 97 percent of those treated have an undetectable viral load.

An estimated 10,400 people living with HIV have not been diagnosed, AIDSmap reports. The full report is available online.

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