White Paper brings welcome focus on public health - success on HIV will be a key test
On the day before World AIDS Day, the Government has published its Public Health White Paper 'Healthy Lives, Healthy People'.
The latest figures on HIV from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) have shown what a long way there is to go in diagnosing HIV early and reducing the number of new HIV infections in the UK. A new focus from the Government on public health is therefore welcome and could mean a step in the right direction in addressing HIV in the UK.
NAT welcomes the ring-fenced protection for public health funding and we are pleased to see an acknowledgment within the White Paper that increasing rates of STI transmission and the level of late diagnosed HIV are matters for serious concern.
A more detailed paper on sexual health will be published by the Government in spring 2011.
Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust), comments:
'Significant changes are proposed to public health in this White Paper. A ring-fenced budget could protect funds for HIV prevention, but we need local authorities to be up-skilled quickly and effectively in their new responsibilities. This is especially important given the proposal they also commission open-access sexual health services, which will be a completely new role for them.
‘NAT is concerned that there are still unanswered questions about who will be responsible for commissioning HIV prevention and testing outside sexual health clinics - an essential element in an effective response. A national public health outcomes framework will be important to ensure consistency of standards across the country and it is essential some of these outcomes specifically relate to HIV.
‘The White Paper should be seen as an exciting opportunity to do more public health and to do it better – and for all of society to be involved. Over the next year, as we debate the details of implementation, we need commitment to these changes delivering measurable improvements. And crucially, this includes reducing late HIV diagnoses and new HIV infections.'
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Notes to the editor:
The full report ‘Healthy lives, healthy people’ can be found here:
The full report from the HPA can be found here:
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NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expert advice and practical resources. We campaign for change.
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