Press release

£8 million invested to tackle HIV and improve sexual health

Almost £8 million is being invested in driving down HIV infections and providing information to improve people’s sexual health, Public Health Minister Anne Milton announced today.

The money will go to the Terrence Higgins Trust and FPA (Family Planning Association) over three years and builds on previous work funded by the Department.  

The latest figures show that the largest increases in STIs were seen in men who have sex with men.

The funding will mean:

• the Terrence Higgins Trust and their partners receive £6.7 million to prevent HIV in men who have sex with men and people from African communities, the groups most affected by HIV in England; and

• FPA will receive £1.13 million for their comprehensive specialist sexual health information service for the public and health workers.

There are nearly 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK yet a quarter of them don’t know they have it - meaning they’re more likely to pass it on and are unable to benefit from effective treatment.  In 2010, there were around 3,000 new diagnoses in men who have sex with men - the highest number ever reported in one year. 

Public Health Minister Anne Milton said:

“Sexually transmitted infections can lead to serious health problems. 
“One in twenty gay men and one in twenty black African men and women in England are HIV positive and in London this rises to one in every seven gay men. 

“This money will help the Terrence Higgins Trust and FPA reach out to these communities. They will use a range of approaches including social media to encourage more people to come forward for testing.” 

Sir Nick Partridge, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust said:

“England has a strong record in HIV prevention and we are proud of the part we have played in this, but the stakes - and potential gains - have never been higher. It’s within our grasp to significantly reduce the rates of new infections by working together with local authorities, clinical services and most importantly the communities most at risk of HIV. Our plans are exciting, ambitious, but achievable, and we’re proud to have been entrusted with this work.”
 
Julie Bentley, Chief Executive, FPA said:

“FPA has delivered factual, accessible, and high quality sexual health information to the public and healthcare professionals for many years. We are delighted to have won this contract which is evidence of how respected and trusted our sexual health information continues to be.”

Notes to Editors

For more information contact the Department of Health press office on 0207 210 4990.

The contracts are worth £7.687 million.  They began on 1 July and run for two years and nine months. The Terrence Higgins Trust contract is worth £6,737,000 million for three years. The FPA contract is worth £1,130,653 over three years. 

Annual HIV and STI data is published by the Health Protection Agency (HPA). The latest data, for 2011, is available on their website.

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