Public Health England have reported that the elimination of HIV transmission “could become a reality in the UK”.
It comes as the latest figures in their annual HIV Testing report shows that positivity rates in new diagnoses fell by 29% from 1.7% in 2015 to 1.2% in 2016.
There were 1,292 new HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men in 2016.
The number of gay and bi men being tested for HIV has continued to rise, with 104,478 men being tested in 2016.
“This year, there are three firsts in the 30 year history of the UK HIV epidemic,” said Dr Valerie Delpech, Head of HIV Surveillance at Public Health England.
“In London, all the global UNAIDS 90:90:90 targets have been met with 90% of people living with HIV infection diagnosed, 97% of people diagnosed receiving treatment and 97% of those receiving treatment virally suppressed.
“HIV transmission among gay and bisexual men has fallen, and the death rate among people with HIV who are diagnosed promptly and on treatment is now comparable to the rest of the population.”
Delpech added: “We celebrate these extraordinary achievements which are the result of a comprehensive response involving many key players and organisations.
“By continuing to invest in effective preventative measures including condom use, expanded HIV testing, prompt treatment and the use of PrEP, the elimination of HIV transmission, AIDS and HIV-related deaths could become a reality in the UK.”
For the first time ever, the overall mortality rate of people diagnosed with HIV aged between 15 to 59 who were diagnosed promptly is comparable to that of the general population (within the same age group).
That being said, people who are late getting diagnosed are at high risk of death in the first year of diagnosis.
This warning comes ahead of National HIV Testing Week, which starts this Saturday (18 November).