Andy Burnham: ‘Much more needs to be done to tackle HIV’

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Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham says “much more needs to be done” when it comes to tackling HIV in Britain.

The senior Labour MP made the comments in support of the Halve It campaign, which aims to cut undiagnosed HIV infections.

Conservative Party Vice Chairman Mike Freer, Liberal Democrat Health team member Baroness Liz Barker and Shadow Public Health Minister Luciana Berger also attended the event in Parliament.

Mr Burnham said: “Much more needs to be done to tackle HIV in this country. Everything from awareness around prevention, to early diagnosis, treatment and care. A key part of the solution lies in collaboration across stakeholder groups, nationally and locally.

“The Halve It campaign is an excellent example of local and national organisations and individuals uniting around an important issue and driving change.”

Public Health Minister Jane Ellison said: “I fully support the aims of the Halve It campaign. The government is committed to reducing late diagnosis and the number of people who are unaware that they have HIV.

“People living with HIV can expect to live a long and healthy life if they are diagnosed early which is why our sexual health strategy focusses on prevention and testing.

“We are testing more people than ever, with fewer diagnoses, which shows we are moving in the right direction.”

At Wednesday’s PMQs David Cameron gave his backing to National HIV Testing Week.

Figures released last week from Public Health England showed 3,250 gay and bisexual men were diagnosed with HIV last year – the highest ever figure.

One in eight gay and bisexual men in London is HIV positive.

PHE said the figures underline the need to further increase both the numbers and frequency of HIV tests, which is critical to tackling the ongoing high levels of HIV transmission.

National HIV Testing Week is taking place from 22-30 November, followed by World AIDS Day on 1 December.

If you live in England, you can request a free home HIV test here.