The UN announced on 29 November 2018 that the UK is one of the first countries in the world to hit the 90-90-90 target to help end the global fight against HIV and AIDS. The UK is well ahead of schedule to hit this target which is wonderful news. But before we find out what happens next let’s understand what 90-90-90 actually means.

90-90-90 is a target set by the United Nations to help end the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. It aims that by 2020:

90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status
90% of all people with diagnosed HIV will be on treatment
90% of all people on treatment will be undetectable

Reaching this target will mean that at least 73% of all people living with HIV worldwide will be undetectable. If someone is undetectable they cannot pass the virus on to the people they have sex with. This reduces the number of new HIV diagnoses and it is predicted that meeting this target will then enable the world to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

What is the latest news for the UK?

Stats from Public Health England released show that the UK has already met and exceeded this target in 2018.

92% of all people living with HIV know their HIV status
98% of all people diagnosed with HIV are on treatment
97% of all people on treatment are undetectable

New HIV diagnoses in the UK have been falling and these stats show that all the efforts to increase testing, PrEP use, and access to treatment quickly are working. Having a high percentage of people on treatment and undetectable in the UK means they cannot pass on the virus. The number of people living with HIV in the UK is going up because more people are getting tested and once on treatment they can lead a normal healthy life.

What next?

Ian Howley, Chief Executive of HERO – Health Equality and Rights Organisation, the parent of GMFA said, “The fact that the UK has passed the 90-90-90 target well ahead of schedule is wonderful news. And we should take a moment to celebrate this. We as a community have worked hard over the last several years to increase HIV testing, explain what HIV-undetectable means in real terms and work to make PrEP available.

"But if we are to end HIV once and for all we need not to get complacent about HIV and support services. We need to increase the number of gay and bisexual men who are testing for HIV. There’s still a high number of men who are testing late, men who are living with HIV but don’t know it. We need to work with minority communities who are also one of the most affected groups in our community. We also need to fight against the recent cuts we have seen in sexual health services. Making it more difficult for people to test for HIV is not the answer. But overall, if we are to end HIV we need to make sure PrEP is available to all who need it. We know PrEP works and the current NHS England Impact Trail is not needed. It’s time to end the trial and make PrEP available to all. We have the tools to end HIV in the UK.”