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NAT welcomes Government commitment to maintain national HIV prevention funding

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.
  • 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

Facebook/NAT (National AIDS Trust)

Instgram @NATIONALAIDSTRUST

NAT can also be reached at: 020 7814 6767

Source: www.nat.org.uk


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