Immense progress had been made since the late 1980s in treating HIV/AIDS. It has long since ceased to be a death sentence, despite the lack of a vaccine. There are today around some 100,000 people in the UK living with HIV, almost 90 per cent of them receiving antiretroviral treatment.
The Government has pledged to provide the resources needed to end new HIV transmissions by 2030. An Action Plan to achieve that goal is due to be announced at the start of December. The Government was questioned about this forthcoming Plan in the Lords on 18 October.
Alistair Lexden raised issues that are of particular importance to the charities, health authorities and agencies which provide the services on which people with HIV depend. He asked: “Do the Government accept that their forthcoming Action Plan should have four key features: the expansion of testing; greater support for those living with HIV; increased funding for HIV prevention; and new national prevention programmes? Will the Government provide sufficient resources to achieve all four aims and so enhance their reputation as a global leader in combating HIV?”
In reply, Lord Kamall, the Lords Health Minister, said: “The four features he referred to are aligned with the independent HIV Commission’s recommendations. The Government have welcomed the HIV Commission’s report and are currently considering its recommendations to inform the development of the forthcoming HIV Action Plan.” The bodies which work on behalf of people with HIV welcomed this answer.