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NAT welcomes Government commitment to maintain national HIV prevention funding

Monday, December 22, 2014

The National AIDS Trust (NAT) has today welcomed commitment from the Minister for Public Health, Jane Ellison MP, to maintain current levels of funding for national HIV prevention for a further year.

In a letter to fellow Conservative MPs, which was reported in Pink News on Friday, the Minister said: “I want to take this opportunity to make absolutely clear that this Government will protect funding for HIV prevention.”

This will come as a huge relief to supporters of the investment – over 1400 of whom wrote to the Minister to voice their concerns in a campaign to stop the proposed cut to the fund. NAT initiated the campaign following Earl Howe’s answer to a parliamentary question on World AIDS Day, where he stated that the funding would likely be ‘pared back’, and a public comment from THT CEO, Rosemary Gillespie, confirming that the proposed cut was in the region of 50%.   

Deborah Gold, CEO of NAT, said: “It is great news that the funding will be maintained for next year despite earlier plans for a substantial cut.  We now need to use the next year for a proper discussion with all stakeholders and communities about the scope, shape and funding of a new multi-year programme from 2016/17. 

“The Government has heard loud and clear from the public that standing back and doing less on HIV prevention is simply not an option.  I want to thank MPs, peers and activists who expressed their concern at any possible cut to the Government.  You have made a real difference.”

Notes to the editor:

  • Earl Howe confirmed in response to a House of Lords Parliamentary Question tabled by Lord Hunt, the Government’s intention to cut the national HIV prevention programme [Hansard, House of Lords:1 Dec 2014 Column 1109] and THT confirmed that the proposal made by the Government is to halve funding in 2015/16.
  • Over 1400 people defended the national prevention programme by writing to the Minister for Public Health.   http://act.lifewithhiv.org.uk/lobby/HPE
  • The Government has funded national HIV prevention programmes since 1996.  Funding for these programmes has been progressively reduced in recent years.  The current national prevention programme - HIV Prevention England (HPE)- has been funded for three years, until the end of March 2015.  Funding for HPE is £2.45m per year - this is already less than the combined funding received by the previous prevention programmes, NAHIP and CHAPS, in 2011/12.  
  • Local authorities invest in HIV prevention as part of their public health responsibilities - but soon-to-be-published NAT research shows that less than 0.1% of the public health allocation in high HIV prevalence areas is being spent on primary HIV prevention.  Local authorities need the support of a national programme to maximise the effectiveness of their HIV prevention activities.
  • An Ipsos MORI poll commissioned by NAT found that only 65% of adults could correctly identify, from a list, the three main ways that people acquire HIV: condom-less sex between a man and a women, condom-less sex between two men and sharing needles or syringes.  Almost a third (28%) of people wrongly think you can get HIV from impossible routes such as kissing; sharing a glass; spitting; from a public toilet seat; coughing or sneezing. This is up from 18% in 2010.

  • For further information please contact:

 Kat Smithson; Tel: 020 7814 6727; email: Kat.smithson@nat.org.uk

 Twitter @NAT_AIDS_Trust

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 Instgram @NATIONALAIDSTRUST

 NAT can also be reached at: 020 7814 6767