Primary care trusts are investing less in HIV prevention than 10 years ago, despite an increase in need in England, say campaigners.
A survey carried out by the National AIDS Trust (NAT), with help from the Health Protection Agency, revealed that about £38m was spent on HIV prevention programmes in 2005-6. NAT estimates that this is less in “real terms” than in 1995-6.
The survey revealed that 45% of PCTs did not have HIV prevention as a priority in their local delivery plans and only 23% of PCTs noted the HIV prevention needs of gay men and 17% of PCTs of black African communities in their local delivery plans.
Deborah Jack, chief executive of NAT said she was shocked by the “complacency” around HIV prevention in England today. NAT is calling for new and measurable HIV prevention targets to be identified and adopted.
“With numbers living with HIV at an all-time high, now is not the time for HIV prevention to be ignored and for funding to be reduced. HIV prevention needs to be a public health priority,” Jack said.
The survey also revealed that PCTs did not have an understanding of the local HIV population or of HIV prevention. Only 43% of PCTs carried out local health needs assessments for HIV prevention.
NAT called for an increase in investment and resources for HIV prevention programmes. It also urged the Department of Health to provide training and resources for commissioners so that effective services are in place.