News & Media > BHIVA and BASHH welcome major changes to end HIV being a barrier to service in the Armed Forces in the UK

BHIVA and BASHH welcome major changes to end HIV being a barrier to service in the Armed Forces in the UK

Wednesday 1 December 2021

The British HIV Association (BHIVA) and the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) welcome the change of policy and practice by the UK Armed Forces announced today.

There is no reason, medical or otherwise, why HIV should be a barrier to recruitment or deployment in the UK Armed Forces. Indeed, modern care means people with HIV can lead normal lives. People living with HIV can today perform open heart surgery, police our nation’s streets and serve in parliament so they should also be able to protect their country.

HIV treatment consists of one or two pills a day for most people, and the option of a bi-monthly injection will be available across the UK soon.

Medication reduces the amount of HIV in a person’s blood to a level which is undetectable by laboratory tests. This means that risk of transmission through sex is zero and the risk of transmission through blood exposure is significantly reduced. There have been no recorded transmissions of HIV via ballistic injury or risk assessments following incidents such as the 7/7 London bombings in 2005 and a suicide bomb attack on a French embassy.

We also welcome the Armed Forces removing any barrier to personnel taking pre exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP, using medication in HIV-negative people, is a highly effective method of prevention and will contribute to the Government in England achieving its target to reduce new HIV transmissions to zero by 2030, as confirmed in its HIV Action Plan announced today (1st December.)

While currently incurable, today HIV is a very manageable, long-term health condition. If diagnosed early, and treated with anti-retroviral medication, HIV does not present a risk to long-term health and does not impact on a person’s predicted life expectancy.


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