LeadUNAIDS Celebrates Innovative HIV Testing Initiative Ahead of World AIDS Day

UNAIDS Celebrates Innovative HIV Testing Initiative Ahead of World AIDS Day

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London, Geneva- UNAIDS welcomes a new research project aiming to broaden ‘opt-out’ HIV testing programs across England. Pioneered by the Elton John Foundation, a pilot scheme has already identified over 3,500 cases of bloodborne infections—HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C—since April 2022, with over 580 HIV cases identified.

The pilot initiative extends to 33 hospitals in London, Greater Manchester, Sussex, and Blackpool. In selected accident and emergency units, healthcare providers offer individuals undergoing blood tests an ‘opt-out’ test for HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C, allowing them the freedom to decline if they choose.

“HIV opt-out testing will consolidate the gains towards HIV epidemic control in the UK,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “Normalization of HIV testing will not only enable timely access to HIV treatment, allowing people with HIV to live healthy lives—it will also stop new HIV infections and reduce the stigma around getting an HIV test. It will save and change lives and help ensure that no one is left behind.”

Within the UNAIDS Global AIDS Strategy, the organization has set ambitious “95-95-95” targets: 95% of people with HIV aware of their status, 95% on life-saving antiretroviral treatment, and 95% achieving viral suppression. Notably, countries such as Botswana, Eswatini, Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania, and Zimbabwe have already achieved these targets. An additional 16 countries, eight of which are in sub-Saharan Africa, are on the verge of reaching this monumental milestone, accounting for 65% of all people living with HIV.

Also Read: UNICEF Report: 98,000 Adolescent Girls Infected with HIV in 2022, Urgent Action Needed

Furthermore, UNAIDS recently released its World AIDS Day report, urging governments worldwide to let communities lead in the fight against AIDS. While the report highlights the potential to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, it highlights the crucial role of communities on the frontlines, emphasizing the need for comprehensive support from governments and donors. The Elton John Foundation stands as a prominent supporter of community action, embodying the collaborative spirit needed to achieve this ambitious goal.

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