British Government set to eradicate HIV - Sabi Tips

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British Government set to eradicate HIV






British Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care, Steve Brine, has said that Britain was well on the way to eradicating HIV ‘once and for all’. Brine’s comments yesterday came after figures from Public Health England (PHE) showed new HIV diagnoses across Britain fell in 2017 by 17 per cent.



This development raises hope of eradicating HIV, a major public health problem from Nigeria and the entire African continent. Annual HIV data in England published yesterday showed that new diagnoses decreased from 5,280 cases in 2016 to 4,363 in 2017. PHE said the figures revealed that new HIV diagnoses have fallen for the second year in a row, bringing new cases down to their lowest level since 2000.

The figure continues a downward trend that started in 2015, with an overall 28 per cent reduction in new HIV diagnoses between 2015 and 2017, said PHE.

Presently, Nigeria occupies the top of the ladder when it comes to cases of HIV-positive children in the world, according to data from the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH). Motherto- child HIV transmission accounts for over 90 per cent of new HIV infections among children. Similarly, Nigeria ranks as the country with the second largest HIV epidemic in the world, with 3.4 million living with the virus. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended that antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the use of HIV medicines to treat HIV infection.

Although, the world body said ART is recommended for everyone who has HIV, but just 30 per cent of all people living with HIV in the country were receiving treatment in 2016. Highlighting the progress on tackling new HIV in the UK, PHE added that the reduction was largely driven by a decline in new HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men, which fell by 17 per cent compared to 2016 and by 31 per cent compared to 2015.

The decrease was due to the high uptake of HIV testing in that group, particularly repeat HIV testing among higher risk men. On the contrary, voluntary HIV testing in Nigeria remains a huge problem. While awareness is making more Nigerians volunteer to test for HIV, the number of those taking advantage of the initiative is very low, according to experts and this is contributing to the spread of new infections in Nigeria. Speaking further on the experience in the UK, Brine said: “HIV is a devastating and life-altering disease.

Today’s figures mean we are well on our way to eradicating it once and for all but we have not an ounce of complacency. “Our commitment to prevention has led to more people getting tested and almost every person with a diagnosis is now in treatment — meaning they are unlikely to pass the virus on to someone else.”

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