Europe’s biggest sexual health clinic reported an 80% drop in the number of new HIV diagnoses since a peak in June 2015.
London’s 56 Dean street shows a drastic drop in recorded transmission rates. The Soho clinic sees 12,000 sexual health attendances each month and accounts for one in two HIV diagnoses of gay men in London.
It’s also one in nine of every new HIV diagnosis in the UK.
56 Dean Street attribute the 80% drop to recent PrEP trials and the launch of the clinic’s Plan ZERO initiative.
The initiative aims to give people living with HIV the tools to become undetectable and be on effective treatment.
Dr Alan McOwan, lead clinician at the clinic said: ‘Combined with condoms, these new prevention methods mean that we finally have the tools to beat HIV.
‘[It shows] that if we attack HIV from all angles, we could end transmission completely,’ he said.
Consultant at the clinic Dr Nneka Nwokolo said: ‘The reduction in new diagnoses has been predominantly in gay men and it is crucial that other groups at risk including women, those from ethnic minorities and transgender groups are made aware of PrEP and other prevention measures.’
56 Dean Street forced to turn away patients
In a Gay Star News exclusive, we revealed around 1,500 people are trying to get just 300 appointments at the most popular sexual health clinic for gay and bi men in the UK.
This is because of a series of sexual health clinic closures.
National Health Service hospitals have blamed government cutbacks for the closures of clinics around London. And experts say there may be further closures already happening across the UK.
The clinics closed include the Lloyd Clinic in Guy’s Hospital, Vauxhall Riverside Health Centre in Vauxhall and Artesian Health Centre in Bermondsey.
And now experts warn of increases to transmission rates. As less people test, more people are at risk.
Matthew Hodson, executive director of NAM Aidsmap, believes there’s ‘a real threat to the progress we’ve made.’
He told GSN: ‘There’s a really significant drop that will only continue if we support people to be treated.’
Hodson added: ‘Any gains we have made could easily be lost.’