20 December 2018: The British HIV Association (BHIVA) echoes the concerns of the Local Government Association, and other organisations, regarding the announcement that the government is choosing to cut spending on public health by £85 million in the local authority funding settlement for 2019/2020. This comes despite evidence of the need to upgrade services to meet increasing demand.
A joint survey of members of BHIVA and of the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASSH) at the end of September 2018 revealed evidence that sexual health services are already stretched to breaking point. Three quarters of BHIVA members said that there had been an impact on access to HIV prevention advice and condoms, with 63 per cent saying that access had been reduced. More than 40 per cent (41 per cent) of BHIVA members said that access to sexual health screening had been reduced, despite HIV positive people being at greater overall risk of sexually transmitted infections.
Reduced HIV testing will in turn lead to later diagnoses, which means a risk of both serious ill health and further HIV transmission, threatening the 2017 fall in new diagnoses of 17 per cent recorded by Public Health England.
Commented BHIVA Chair Chloe Orkin:
“The UK today has one of the best success rates for people taking HIV treatment anywhere in the world. Reducing public health funding in this drastic way, and thereby reducing investment in HIV prevention, testing and access to care, puts all of this in jeopardy.
“Sexual health and HIV are transmissible, preventable public health problems and sustainable funding is required to maintain the outstanding results we have worked so hard to achieve.”
A link to the statement from the Local Government Association is available here:
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