Fifteen years ago you couldn’t pay me to eat an olive, savoury, salty evil – a sort of anti-grape, I wasn’t even able to stomach a little black one in the middle of a Margherita. Today I can’t get enough of them, consuming a pot within minutes of peeling back the plastic seal. Tastes change, so do opinions, and sometimes we look back and realise we weren’t always right.
It’s more than two years since I first discussed PrEP on this blog and in that time a lot has changed, I’ve learnt more about it, spoken to people taking it, and most importantly we’ve seen the results of various trials, and it’s clear, it works. However I felt about PrEP in the past I always said that it should be a personal choice – but that choice still isn’t available in the UK. Those in high risk groups deserve to be able to have access to every tool available to protect their sexual health – it’s their right.
This week Public Health England released the latest UK HIV statistics, revealing 3,360 men who have sex with men were diagnosed in 2014, that’s around 9 a day and in all likelihood 9 diagnoses a day that could have been prevented; through better education, through promotion of condom use and with PrEP. And the number of diagnoses in this high risk group are increasing year on year. We need to act now, we can’t afford to ignore this worrying trend any more.
We can stop HIV by normalising testing and by ensuring people living with the virus are provided with treatment when they are diagnosed, and by offering people every means of protection available.