Tag Archives: phe

There’s currently an outbreak of Hepatitis A affecting gay and bisexual men.

Hepatitis A outbreak in England under investigation

Public Health England is investigating a hepatitis A outbreak predominantly affecting men who have sex with men. Between July 2016 and 2 April 2017, 266 cases associated with the outbreak had been identified in England. At least 74% of these were among MSM, and 63% of cases were in London. There is evidence that there have been some cases in the wider population linked to the outbreak.

A high proportion of cases likely acquired the infection abroad at the beginning of the outbreak, but transmission now mainly occurs in England. The outbreak comprises three concurrently-circulating genotype Ia strains, previously not seen in England. Hepatitis A outbreaks caused by the same strains are concurrently occurring in 12 European countries and elsewhere in the UK outside of England [1,2].

As part of the outbreak response, PHE together with the British Association for Sexual health and HIV have recommended that MSM with one or more new or casual partner in the last three months are opportunistically vaccinated in GUM clinics at their next appointment. In addition, pop-up vaccination clinics have been set up around gay venues in London. PHE is considering wider vaccination strategies to respond this outbreak, which is occurring in the context of a global shortage of hepatitis A vaccine.

See the PDF version of this report for the epidemiological curve depicting the outbreak.

References:

  1. ECDC (December 2016). Rapid risk assessment: hepatitis A outbreaks in the EU/EEA mostly affecting men who have sex with men.
  2. Beebeejaun K, Degala S, Balogun K, Simms I, Woodhall SC, Heinsbroek E, et al (2017). Outbreak of hepatitis A associated with men who have sex with men (MSM), England, July 2016 to January 2017. Euro. Surveill. 22(5), 2 February.

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East Midlands African HIV Prevention Partnership awarded innovative HIV prevention fund

Motorway-sign-hiv-test

Public Health England has awarded £500,000 to support seven innovative voluntary-led HIV projects across England.

HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus) remains a major public health concern. Rates of infection are continuing to rise among certain groups of the population and the innovative M1 Distribution Centre Project aims to make a difference to HIV awareness by reducing late diagnosis and improving work place health. We will provide HIV and health awareness raising and testing events and use text messaging services to reach people who may not have time to get to their local health services. By working with some of the large work places in distribution centres in the Midlands along the M1, we will take health and HIV information and testing to where there are large numbers of male workers. Within the partnership we will share lessons and learning from the M1 events and also examine how people use texting to share information about health and HIV. We will particularly explore the project’s impact on HIV late diagnosis and awareness of HIV and other health conditions. We will also assess the impact that higher levels of awareness has on employment.

This project will be delivered by the East Midlands African HIV Prevention Partnership  – a partnership of local HIV awareness delivery organisations ( AISD – Nottingham, Well for Life – Derbyshire, Sunrise Family Support – Corby, STASS – Milton Keynes and Embrace Life, Luton – coordinated by Well for Living – Leicester and working with the University of Nottingham, School of Health Sciences  as our evaluators.

There are an estimated 107,000 people living with the virus in the UK, of whom around a quarter (26,100) are unaware they have HIV and are at risk of unknowingly passing on the virus to others. However targeted and innovative local initiatives can reduce the risk of people catching or passing on HIV.

The new National HIV prevention fund is supporting selected local projects that offer new and innovative ways of delivering HIV prevention, aiming to turn around the ever increasing numbers of new HIV diagnoses among certain groups of the population. Public Health England received over 90 applications to the fund for 2015-16 from all across England, from which seven projects were allocated funding.

Project Quote/s

Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England said;

“While we are seeing HIV rates declining in the general population, it is still a serious problem within certain communities. The national innovation fund supports projects that offer creative approaches to a longstanding issue, boosting local action to help reduce the rates of HIV among high-risk groups, such as African communities.”

Jenny Hand, CEO of LASS and Well for Living said;

“We and our partners in the East Midlands African HIV Prevention Partnership are really delighted to be working closely with PHE on our innovation fund. We are confident that through our innovative M1 distribution centre project we will contribute to reducing late HIV diagnosis, improving HIV awareness and challenge stigma and discrimination.”

Dr. Holly Blake and Dr. Catrin Evans, senior researchers from the University of Nottingham, School of Health Sciences, said:

“We are thrilled to be involved in this exciting initiative which combines established and new technologies in promoting health amongst groups who are traditionally very hard to reach. Lessons learned from this project have the potential to influence HIV prevention on a far wider level.”

The seven successful projects all target groups at high risk and are supported by their local authorities.

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One in six people accessing HIV care are aged 55 or over

phe

Treatment improvements, ongoing transmission and a steady increase in new diagnoses have contributed to an increase in the number of people living with diagnosed HIV.

According to a new report from Public Health England, there were 85,489 people being seen for HV care across the UK in 2014. “The age of people accessing care for HIV continues to increase, with almost one in six now aged over 55,” it adds. “The aging cohort of people living with HIV emphasises the importance of integrated care pathways to manage co-morbidities and other complications.”

Other data in the report includes:

  • There were 6,151 new diagnoses in 2014, a slight increase from 2013
  • The number of men who have sex with men (MSM) newly diagnosed with HIV is increasing, from 2,860 men in 2010 to 3,360 men diagnosed HIV-positive in 2014
  • New diagnoses acquired through heterosexual sex has declined (from 3,440 in 2010 to 2,490 in 2014), largely due to a reduction in diagnoses among black African men and women (1,801 in 2010 to 1,044 in 2014)
  • Of all people attending for care in 2014, 91% were on antiretrovial therapy (ART), “of whom 95% were virally suppressed and unlikely to be infectious to others
  • 41% of those accessing HIV care are in London.

“A major challenge for the UK remains the timely diagnosis of HIV infection in order to start lifesaving ART and prevent onwards transmission of infection. Two out of five people newly diagnosed with HIV in 2014 had ‘late stage’ HIV, evidenced by a CD4 count below 350, and this remains stubbornly and unacceptably high (56% in 2005),” says the report.

A fifth (21%) of English local authorities had a diagnosed HIV prevalence above 2 per 1,000 in 2014, the threshold for expanded testing into general practice new registrants and hospital admissions. “This included all but one London borough. There is an urgent need to increase HIV testing opportunities and uptake for people living in these areas, in line with national HIV testing guidelines.”

Download your copy of the report here.

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