A hugely successful opt-out HIV testing programme is set to be rolled out in Milton Keynes.
Following the initial rollout in areas of 'very high' prevalence such as London, Manchester and Brighton, Milton Keynes North MP Ben and Milton Keynes South MP Iain wrote to the Health Secretary calling on the scheme to be expanded to MK.
Ben and Iain shared their concerns that Milton Keynes has a far higher percentage of late stage HIV diagnoses at 50% compared to the national average of 43.4%.
The programme provides medication, a treatment and a care pathway, which enables people to live long and healthy lives - where the virus is virtually undetectable.
During the first 18 months of the BBV opt-out testing programme, 33 emergency departments conducted 857,117 HIV tests, 473,723 HCV tests, and 366,722 HBV tests – significantly increasing the number of blood borne virus tests conducted in England each year.
The Government is committed to the ambitious target of ending new HIV transmissions by 2030 and the local MPs believes this expansion to areas like Milton Keynes will help them achieve this target.
Iain Stewart MP said: “I welcome the news that the opt-out HIV testing scheme is being expanded to Milton Keynes, especially as Milton Keynes has a higher percentage of late-stage HIV diagnoses than the national average.
“With modern medication and treatment plans, those with HIV are able to live healthy and long lives and so it is important those who carry the virus are diagnosed and supported as early as possible.
“This is yet another example of the Conservative Government investing in our local NHS healthcare.”
Ben Everitt MP said: "We've already seen just how successful the opt-out HIV testing scheme has been in other cities around the UK, so I'm delighted we've succeeded in getting it expanded to Milton Keynes University Hospital.
"Once again the Government is investing in improving health outcomes in MK and I want to thank the Terrence Higgins Trust for all the incredible work they have done and continue to do on this issue."