PRESS RELEASE: The Netherlands on course to reaching UNAIDS 2020 fast-track targets

22 November 2018

Latest figures released today by Stichting HIV Monitoring (SHM) for 2017 reveal a reduction in both HIV diagnoses and the estimated number of newly-acquired HIV infections in the Netherlands.

In 2017, fewer people were diagnosed with HIV (750) than in 2016 (820). The figures, published online today in the annual HIV Monitoring Report, also reveal that the majority of people are now starting HIV treatment within a few months of diagnosis. However, too many people continue to be diagnosed with an already impaired immune system or AIDS (37% of men who have sex with men, 63% of other men and 52% of women diagnosed in 2017). 

On a positive note, the Netherlands has now reached the global UNAIDS’ ‘90-90-90’ fast-track target for 2020: in 2017, 90% of people estimated to be living with HIV in the Netherlands were aware of their HIV-positive status, 93% of these people were on treatment, and 95% of those on treatment had undetectable levels of the virus in their blood.

Another measure of the HIV epidemic, the estimated number of newly-acquired HIV infections, is also declining and reached 450 in 2017. This downward trend in newly-acquired infections over the years confirms that the Netherlands is also on course to achieving another UNAIDS’ fast-track target for 2020, namely that of a 75% reduction in annual newly-acquired infections since 2010.  

Professor Peter Reiss, director of Stichting HIV Monitoring, says “It is encouraging that the annual number of newly-acquired infections continues to decline. Achieving all three goals of the UNAIDS’ 90-90-90 target has certainly contributed to preventing further HIV transmission. At the same time, we need to fully optimise prevention, including the implementation of PrEP, to minimise transmission. Moreover, we must increasingly shift our focus to addressing any persistent structural barriers to early diagnosis and timely treatment”.