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The number of new HIV infections among gay and bisexual men is on the decline

By Will Stroude

The number of new HIV infections among gay and bisexual men in the UK has fallen by 21%, Public Health England (PHE) has revealed.

Official figures published today (October 3) reveal that new diagnoses among men who have sex with men (MSM) fell from 3,570 in 2015 to 2,810 in 2016.

The decline wasparticularly acute in London, which saw a 29% fall in the same period among MSMs

PHE credits PrEP, a HIV prevention pill, for the fall, and hopes the number of diagnoses will continue to fall with the implementation of the PrEP trial over the next several years.

The number of new diagnoses among the general UK population also saw an 18% fall, from 6,286 in 2015 to 5,164 in 2016.

Dr. Valerie Delpech, head of HIV surveillance at Public Health England, said: “This is very good news.

“It is the first time since the beginning of the HIV epidemic in the 1980s that we have observed a decline in new HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men and is clear evidence that HIV prevention efforts are working in the United Kingdom.”

While many are celebrating the news, HIV charities reveal the stats still show a “cause for concern”.

Speaking to the Huffington Post, chief executive of Terrence Higgins Trust Ian Green said: “Today’s figures show we’ve started something – we’re beginning to see the reversal of the HIV epidemic in some communities in the UK.”

“But this is no time for complacency. We must keep this momentum going so we can see the same progress in other communities and bring the epidemic to an end. ”

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