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80% drop in new HIV diagnoses at 56 Dean Street since 2015

06 October 2017

Figures released by clinicians at 56 Dean Street, show that new diagnoses of HIV have fallen from a peak of 72 in June 2015 to 11 in September 2017.

Figures released by clinicians at 56 Dean Street, show that new diagnoses of HIV have fallen from a peak of 72 in June 2015 to 11 in September 2017. The Soho Clinic operated by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, sees over 12,000 sexual health attendances per month, and accounts for one in nine of every new HIV diagnosis in the UK and one in two of gay men in London. 

The clinic adopted the San Francisco, ‘Getting to Zero’ campaign, which aims for zero new infections, zero deaths due to HIV/AIDS, and zero stigma for people living with HIV. The Clinic concentrates on diagnosing people early and offering treatment immediately as well as expanding access to both HIV post-exposure (PEP) and pre-exposure (PrEP) prophylaxis. The early diagnosis rate (using the RITA test that identifies people who have acquired their infection in the previous four months) is well above the national average. 76% of newly diagnosed patients start HIV treatment at their first appointment. 

The clinic opened the first PrEP clinic in the UK and was among the first to offer support and safety monitoring for people purchasing PrEP online—a move which has enabled thousands of people to access PrEP safely. 

Drs Nneka Nwokolo and Alan McOwan, consultants at the Clinic explain: “It is crucial that those who do contract HIV are diagnosed and treated at the earliest opportunity to improve their health. Late diagnosis can cause significant and avoidable health complications.

“Successful treatment has been shown to prevent transmission to sexual partners and there is excellent data showing that people with an undetectable viral load under treatment cannot transmit HIV.

“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.

“We hope that one day soon there will be no new HIV diagnoses.”

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