Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced his support for limiting HIV transmissions in an exclusive interview with GAY TIMES.
Sadiq Khan has pledged to ensure there are no new HIV infections in London by 2030 if he is re-elected on 6 May.
Speaking to GAY TIMES, the Mayor of London said he is committed to working ‘‘tirelessly” to achieve this goal.
“I’m really pleased that we signed up to it when I became mayor, the UN’s 90-90-90 target and we’ve managed to exceed that and break the targets we set ourselves in relation to trying to reduce the numbers of new HIV emissions,” the mayor said over Zoom.
The UN’s 90-90-90 target refers to 90 per cent of people living with HIV who know their status, 90 per cent of people with diagnosed HIV on treatment, and 90 per cent of people on treatment with suppressed viral loads.
Following his pledge, Sadiq Khan has set the goal for London to become “the first global city to have zero HIV cases in 2030”.
Monitoring transmission rates in London is key for Khan and the mayor hopes conversations around HIV will help destigmatise the virus.
“We’ve taken aboard some of the recommendations made by the HIV 2020 Commission, and the big game-changer for us is to rapidly increase the numbers of people who’ve been tested for HIV,” Khan told GAY TIMES.
Khan also revealed he has been tested twice to help “get rid of the stigma and to encourage others to be tested”.
“The more you’re tested … the earlier you know have, you can start receiving treatment and, in particular, the antiretroviral drugs can start making a difference.
“We want to reduce the number of new cases and the good news is, because of the work we’ve done with lots of great community groups and others, last year we saw a 10 per cent reduction in new cases of HIV, and I’m confident with progress, by 2030, [there will be] zero new HIV cases in London.”
The Mayor of London said he is “pleased” to announce, due to his lobbying with pro-LGBTQ+ groups, the UK government has agreed to do a U-turn and provide trails of free PrEP.
“Because of success, we started the government to provide more PrEP for free, but you’re spot on, it’s not easily accessible. So we’re lobbying the government to make it accessible in places easy for people to receive, because actually, not only is the right thing to do, but it makes economic sense to provide PrEP free at places convenient to people who use it,” Khan said on the call.
The mayor added: “If you can stop somebody catching HIV, you’re saving a huge amount of money in relation to the antiretroviral drugs, but also the anxiety, stress, trauma caused by somebody getting HIV can be reduced and taken away by people receiving PrEP free, so we will not be the government.
“I’m using the bully pulpit of City Hall to lobby the government to make sure there are more places where PrEP can be provided for free to people who want to take it.”
Sadiq Khan became Mayor of London in 2016 and has pledged to support the LGBTQ+ community in his manifesto which will be published next month.
“We’re going to build in this manifesto and saw the progress the last five years in relation to progress to reduce new cases of HIV progress in relation to reducing hate crime,” he told GAY TIMES. “I want London to be the most welcoming city in the world for members of the LGBTQ plus community of bridges across the country across the globe.”
The 2021 London mayoral election will be held on 6 May 2021. You are eligible to vote if you are aged 18, a British, qualifying Commonwealth, or EU citizen and living in London.
If you are not yet registered to vote, you have until April 19 to do, and you can register here.