Below is a brief overview of some of the major projects we are currently working on. If you would like to provide information about any of these areas or if there are other issues that you think we should be working on please let us know.
Campaigning to maintain investment in national HIV prevention
HIV transmission rates are showing no signs of decline. Despite this the Government plans to cut the national HIV prevention programme by as much as 50%. This programme is the only national level investment in HIV prevention and coordinates with and complements activity at a local level. Now is not the time to cut back on prevention and NAT is campaigning to reverse this decision. You can find out more by reading our briefing paper. You can also get involved and write to the Minister.
We are also looking at HIV prevention activity at a local level. Historically it's always been difficult to monitor how much is being spent on HIV prevention and on what, largely due to inconsistency in how HIV prevention is defined. NAT is gathering information from local authorities and others with prevention responsibilities to assess what HIV prevention activity is happening in high prevalence areas across England. We want to find out what prevention activities are being commissioned, where, and who they are intended to reach. We hope to provide definitive overview of investment in prevention and to monitor how it is changing.
Policy Lead- Kat Smithson
Young gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) - A survey of understanding about sex
We have designed a survey for young gay and bisexual men (aged 14 - 19) looking at where and how they learn about sexuality, sex and relationships, safer sex, and HIV; including where they source information, advice or support; whether they think these sources are helpful and what types of additional information they would like more of. The survey also aims to assess what young gay and bisexual men know about safer sex, HIV and their rights.
NAT decided to undertake this project in order to help better understand support and information-related need among young gay and bisexual men which forms an important part of the UK's HIV prevention response.
Research shows that sex and relationships education (SRE) in schools is often inaccessible and not relevant to the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people, which threatens to undermine this group's right to education. At the same time, HIV diagnoses among young gay and bisexual men have more than doubled in 10 years and rates of HIV transmission among gay and bisexual men in general remain high.
We will use the survey results to develop recommendations for relevant professionals who provide information, advice or support around sexuality, sex and relationships, safer sex, and HIV, as well as more broadly - resources and campaigns which aim to provide information and support for this group.
Policy Lead - Tom Perry
Campaigning for access to PrEP
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is an effective way to prevent HIV transmission and involves HIV negative people taking HIV medication to avoid HIV acquisition from a sexual partner. NAT is playing a leading role in campaigning for PrEP to be made available as soon as possible from the NHS to those who need it. NAT is represented on the HIV Clinical Reference Group working group examining the case for commissioning PrEP on the NHS. NAT is also bringing together community organisations to promote joint advocacy on this issue – and a community statement is being prepared calling for PrEP to be available from the NHS as soon as possible
Residential and Domiciliary Care - producing a best practice framework for HIV
We are undertaking a project to look at residential and domiciliary care for people living with HIV. The project will result in a best practice guide on HIV for UK providers of residential and domiciliary care.
People living with HIV and on treatment are now likely to have a normal life span and are living into later life - with one in four people living with HIV now over 50. However, this positive news for people living with HIV has implications for the services they receive and will need in the future. It means that providers of residential and domiciliary care need to be prepared and have the policies in place to provide high quality appropriate care.
The guide will seek to ensure that everyone living with HIV receives integrated and person-focused care, which respects their dignity and independence, whether they are receiving care at home or in a residential setting. It will cover a range of issues including confidentiality, access to HIV treatment, access to psychological support, infection control policies, impact of co-morbidities, dignity and human rights as well as ensuring care staff have a basic understanding of HIV and the needs of people living with HIV and feel confident in delivering care to them.
We are interested to hear about from people living with HIV or supporting those living with HIV about their experience of this increasingly important sector.
Policy Lead - Eleanor Briggs
NAT has learnt that some funeral directors have refused to fully handle funeral arrangements for HIV positive people who have died. NAT will be working to address this discrimination and secure changes in policy and practice as soon as possible. We are now waiting to participate in the forthcoming review of Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance pertaining to funeral directors, which we have reason to believe is at the root of such practices.
Policy lead - Sally Thomas
Other things we are currently working on include:
- Personal Independence Payment and HIV- Engaging with the development of the new benefit assessment for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which will replace DLA, and ensuring that the needs of people of HIV are considered in this process. In February 2014 we produced an updated Factsheet on PIP. Policy Lead - Sarah Radcliffe
- Improving HIV care in immigration detention- Working with NHS England and Public Health England to ensure Immigration Removal Centres consistently provide high quality HIV testing, treatment and care to people in detention. Policy Lead - Sarah Radcliffe
- Treatment as prevention- Treatment as prevention- NAT is campaigning for NHS England to commission and fund HIV clinics to provide 'treatment as prevention'. This would mean people with HIV who wish to start treatment before their CD4 count reaches 350 would be able to do so to protect sexual partners from the risk of HIV transmission. Policy Lead - Yusef Azad
Please click here for NAT’s complete 2014/15 policy workplan