British African communities let down by the UK Government.
NAT (National AIDS Trust) publishes today a review of how the HIV epidemic in the UK is affecting British African communities, 'HIV and Black African Communities in the UK'. It finds that:
Not enough resources are going into HIV prevention for African men and women.
The NHS is neglecting the needs of African people in the UK, in particular by allowing the continuation of shockingly high late HIV diagnosis rates in these communities.
African men and women with HIV are doing well on treatment but more should be done to address wider well-being, including mental health and support needs in relationships and the family.
Poverty, unemployment and poor housing are for many Africans in the UK a ‘social epidemic’ which compromises, complicates and undermines the management of their HIV.
HIV stigma is an even greater burden than HIV itself for many African men and women living with the condition – but there is no national vision or investment to end HIV stigma (in contrast to mental health stigma, for example). The Government must act to address HIV stigma in our society.
There are specific needs for African women, African men, African men who have sex with men, young people from African communities. Services need to be designed and funded to meet these distinct needs.
The response to HIV in African communities will only be effective if leadership on the issue emerges from within African communities.
Yusef Azad, Director of Policy and Campaigns, said. ‘NAT’s report ‘HIV and Black African communities in the UK’ is an overview of the many policy issues we need as a society to grapple with if we are going to address HIV in these communities, minimise its impact and maximise well-being. Black African communities in the UK comprise one of the largest BME groups and their health must be a priority for public policy. We call on government both nationally and locally to rise to the challenge.’