Kat Smithson, Director of Policy at NAT (National AIDS Trust), said:
“This report provides essential insight into the needs of women living with HIV – a group whose experiences are often missing from discussions around the design of HIV services and research.
“We welcome the report’s breakdown of data on women by ethnicity, sexual orientation and age which gives us a deeper understanding of how experiences and outcomes differ between women. It’s encouraging to see women living with HIV have excellent clinical outcomes, they report a high quality of life in line with the general population, and they rate the HIV care they receive very highly.
“The report also highlights the gendered and racialised experiences of women living with HIV, where their experiences as parents, partners and carers can often intersect to compound the health and social inequalities they experience.
“However, we remain deeply concerned about high rates of late HIV diagnosis among women, particularly Black Caribbean women who have experienced increasing rates of late diagnosis since 2008.
“It’s just not good enough that the proportion of women attending sexual health services who have an HIV test is so low. This is especially concerning in sexual health services where women are more likely to test positive. We’re missing vital opportunities to diagnose women, and this increases their risk of ill health and reduces their life expectancy.
“It’s clear properly funded, tailored services that best meet the needs of women living with and at risk of HIV are desperately needed. These should not be limited to sexual health, but also address social welfare and wellbeing. NHS and local authority commissioners must take a holistic approach when making funding decisions which most impact this demographic.”
Notes to editors
NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s policy and campaigning charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expertise and practical resources. We champion the rights of people living with HIV and campaign for change.
Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.