Universal access to healthcare services for people living with HIV
- After a seven year campaign we secured free HIV treatment in England for all who need it.
- Access to a GP or primary care nurse consultation will remain free to all, following our opposition to plans to charge certain migrants for primary care access. When announcing this important concession, the Government specifically cited the public health arguments we made around the impact of primary charging on HIV testing rates.
- We influenced Home Office policy so that asylum seekers living with HIV who need help with accommodation will not routinely be ‘dispersed’ away from the area where they are attending an HIV clinic.
HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care services
- The Government announced that home testing kits for HIV will be legalised from April 2014. We campaigned in favour of this legalisation for several years.
- We successfully campaigned for a UK consensus statement from the two main HIV clinical bodies (BHIVA and EAGA) on HIV Treatment as Prevention - this at last provides an agreed basis for prescribing ARVs early to people with HIV in certain cases to reduce HIV transmission. It also is key to removing some of the outdates and stigmatising barriers to people with HIV fully participating in work and social activity.
- We worked to make sure high standards of HIV were carried through to the new NHS system in England, with care commissioned nationally and late diagnosis included in the public health outcome framework.
- NAT developed the English national peer network of HIV and sexual health commissioners. Through the transition to new NHS structures in England we provided support for meetings, membership and created an online discussion forum. The network is now considered a best-practice model for supporting joined-up commissioning in the new landscape for HIV, sexual health and reproductive health commissioning
Protection against HIV-related discrimination
- We brought together a coalition of charities to end the use of pre-employment health questionnaires before the offer of a job is made, through the Equality Act 2010
- We were instrumental in securing and participating in the review which led to an overturn of the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood.
- The Government announced an end to the absolute ban on HIV positive healthcare workers from doing jobs which involve 'exposure prone procedures' (e.g. dentistry, surgery). From early 2014, it will be possible for people living with HIV to work in these professions, provided they are on effective treatment with a non-detectable viral load and are monitored every three months. NAT has been calling for this change for a number of years - and we were the only charity on the expert working group which made the recommendation to change the rules, based on the most recent scientific evidence.
Welfare support for people living with HIV
- We were one of a handful of charities who participated in the Evidence Based Review (EBR) of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has now accepted the EBR's findings that WCA assessors need to show better awareness of the impact of fluctuating conditions on ability to work. As a result of our advocacy through the EBR, the DWP has also committed to revising the way in which assessors ask ESA applicants about their barriers to work - so in future it will be less of an 'exam' and more focussed on learning about an individual's specific challenges.
- Along with other charities working on health and disability benefits, we successfully advocated for a delay in the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) rollout for people on indefinite DLA awards. This means that people recieving indefinite DLA will not have to face a PIP assessment until October 2015 at the earliest.
- We launched www.HIVaware.org.uk - the UK's most comprehensive website on HIV for the general public