January 2019 Newsletter

Happy New Year to all our supporters!

 We are very excited about what 2019 will bring and our goal of making new HIV infections a thing of the past is now within our grasp. In 2016 Brighton & Hove City Council, the Martin Fisher Foundation and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals joined in partnership in the first Fast Track City in the UK towards ending HIV transmission across the city.

So what does Fast Track status  mean for Brighton & Hove?

In a nutshell, the aim is to attain the UNAIDS global target of 90-90-90 and ZERO HIV stigma and discrimination by 2020. The 90-90-90 targets are:

  • 90% of people living with HIV know their status
  • 90% of people diagnosed with HIV are receiving treatment
  • 90% of those on treatment have undetectable HIV virus in their blood stream
  • Reduce to ZERO the negative impact of stigma and discrimination

How are we doing?

By the end of 2017 Brighton & Hove has exceeded those targets with:

  • 93% of people living with HIV know their status
  • 99% of B&H residents living with HIV are on treatment
  • 98% of those on treatment having undetectable HIV  in their blood stream and therefore unable to pass it on

We have achieved this by a sustained increase in HIV testing in healthcare settings over the last decade, as well as more recently launching innovative projects such as the Martin Fisher Foundation Digital Vending Machines.   The other game changer is PrEP (Pre exposure prophylaxis) which is almost 100% effective at preventing someone contracting HIV when taken as prescribed. We estimate over 350 individuals who are at greater risk of HIV are taking PrEP in B&H, not only protecting their own health, but also the health of the wider community.

HIV Stigma and discrimination are harder to measure but we know that fear of becoming HIV positive prevents people from coming forward for testing.  Experiences of stigma and discrimination significantly impact on the quality of life of people who are HIV positive. Local data shows that 37% of people living with HIV (PLWHIV) experience gossip and 22% verbal abuse in relation to their HIV status. Nationally 37% of PLWHIV do not feel supported in the workplace.    

So, what is the plan now? 

We will now move towards ZERO HIV

  • ZERO new cases
  • ZERO discrimination against people living with HIV
  • ZERO people with HIV not on treatment
  • ZERO detectable virus in people with HIV leading to
  • ZERO transmission which completes the circle to ZERO new cases

We will continue to explore new and innovative ways of promoting HIV testing in populations with reduced access to testing, and engage with communities to emphasise the importance of earlier diagnosis and early treatment.

Over the next three years we will deliver HIV education to all healthcare organisations across the city, provide training for people living with HIV to challenge and tackle HIV stigma and further develop our public campaign on reducing HIV stigma. We will develop an education package for businesses and organisations to help them challenge stereotypes and misconceptions in the workplace.

If you are able to help us with Communications, PR, Grant Applications or Fundraising expertise please get in touch.