The government’s HIV advisor says London is on track to eliminate all new cases of HIV by 2030 - and could achieve this goal even earlier.

Professor Kevin Fenton’s comments came on World AIDS Day (December 1), which aims to raise awareness of HIV infection.

He said more still needs to be done to “democratise” access to HIV testing and treatment, and to tackle the stigma associated with the disease.

More than 100,000 people in the UK are estimated to currently be living with HIV, although the number of new infections is rapidly declining.

Prof Fenton said: “England and the United Kingdom are leading globally in seeing reductions in the number of new infections of HIV. Because of this we fully anticipate that we will be well on our way to meeting the government’s 2030 target.

“And, in a city such as London, where we have high levels of diagnosis of HIV and most people who are diagnosed with HIV are currently in treatment, we are hoping to be able to meet that target even before 2030.”

Islington Gazette: Professor Kevin Fenton, UK government HIV advisorProfessor Kevin Fenton, UK government HIV advisor (Image: UK Government)

But Prof Fenton said the stigma associated with the disease is still a barrier to achieving the government’s 2030 goal.

He said it  often prevents people from accessing the treatment and support that they need, potentially spreading the virus further in the meantime.

He praised the work of community groups in connecting people with HIV to reduce this stigma.

One man who benefitted from a HIV support group is the face of this year’s World AIDS Day 2022 campaign, Cricklewood man Ant Babajee.

Ant was first diagnosed with HIV in 2007 and spoke about the stigma associated with the virus, and how that impacted his mental health.

He said: “Living with HIV can be lonely. I knew I was going to be OK medically, but emotionally I wasn’t so sure.” 

It was only after finding a support group run by HIV charity Terence Higgins Trust that Ant felt his experience of living with the disease changed for the better.

A local organisation offering support group services in Brent, Camden, Islington and Ealing is Living Well, a not-for-profit HIV counselling and wellbeing organisation.

Simon Jones, CEO of Living Well, said: “We offer a wide range of psychosocial support services, all aimed at improving overall mental health and emotional wellbeing.

“The goal is to give people greater agency and control and allow them to better self-manage their condition and address the issue of stigma - whether it be self or community based stigma.”

Prof Fenton said that to achieve the government’s 2030 goal, the drug PrEP, which when taken can dramatically reduce the chance of getting HIV from sex or injection drug use, needs to become more widely available.

Central and North West London (CNWL) NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for HIV services in Barnet, Camden, Islington and Haringey, has recently made efforts to improve PrEP accessibility for those who need it.

CNWL’s PrEP outreach team has launched a one year programme of community engagement across the four boroughs.

Across a diverse range of venues, including clubs and libraries, PrEP outreach workers will be on hand to discuss PrEP and help book appointments in CNWL’s clinics.

Recent outreach events have taken place in venues such as Marcus Garvey Library in Tottenham and Zodiac Bar on Hampstead Road.

CNWL’s PrEP programme manager, Dominic Reilly, said: “At CNWL we have been running a programme of community engagement work, including our Be PrEPared online campaigns developed with patient input, community outreach delivered by a specialist PrEP promotion team, and a PrEP for Black Africans Engagement Exercise run in partnership with Umoja Health Forum and Embrace UK.”

For residents of Camden and Islington, PrEP can be accessed at Mortimer Market Centre, off Tottenham Court Road, and Archway Centre, opposite Archway Tube Station. Residents can find out more about PrEP and book an appointment online at

For a full list of Living Well’s services click here

More information on the HIV support services available for Islington and Camden residents click here.