Nurse practitioner, 56 Dean Street, London, UK
HIV is falling in London’s gay men. We can get it to zero
This is the mission statement set out by 56 Dean Street’s ‘Plan Zero’ project in response to reducing numbers of HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the capital. This article aims to provide an explanation of what ‘Plan Zero’ is, discuss the achievements it has already made, as well as reflect on the challenges that are still faced when attempting to bring positive HIV diagnoses to zero.
Historically, there have been high rates of HIV among MSM in London . Men who have sex with men in the capital have been disproportionately affected by HIV (and AIDS in the early years) and rates of new infections have been higher in London that anywhere else in the UK . It has, however, been well documented recently that HIV rates in this population in London are falling . Due to increased access to testing, early initiation, hassle-free maintenance of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and increasing use of preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) central London clinics saw a 29% decline in HIV rates between 2015 and 2016 . An 80% reduction in new HIV diagnosis was seen at 56 Dean St between July 2015 (72 diagnoses in this month) and September 2017 (11 diagnoses). Anecdotally, the difference was marked and it felt like something was changing. Read more…