Press release

Launch of innovative HIV prevention fund

New national funding for local voluntary-led HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) prevention projects to target groups at higher risk of HIV.

Condoms

Public Health England is encouraging all voluntary organisations to apply for national funding to enable innovative HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) projects across England.

Despite major advances in treatment, HIV remains a major public health concern. There are an estimated 107,000 people living with the virus in the UK, of whom around a quarter (26,100) are unaware they have HIV and are at risk of unknowingly passing on the virus to others.

The risk of infection is higher in certain groups of the population; men who have sex with men (MSM) and black African communities. However, targeted and innovative local initiatives can reduce the risk of people catching or passing on HIV.

The new national fund will support local projects that offer new and innovative ways of delivering HIV prevention, aiming to turn around the ever increasing numbers of new diagnoses among certain groups of the population. Applications are encouraged from voluntary sector organisations for projects that target groups at high risk, to be supported by their relevant local authority.

Public Health Minister Jane Ellison said:

While HIV rates overall are in decline it is worrying that they continue to rise in men who have sex with men, as do rates of other STIs.

We want everyone to enjoy good health so we need to be more bold and ambitious in how we tackle this issue. So I am very interested to see what innovative ideas come out of this exciting new fund.

Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England said:

Local partners are key to successful activities to reduce HIV within the most at-risk groups and it is fantastic to see that already over 30 expressions of interest have been received for projects across the country.

This fund will support local voluntary-led projects that offer a fresh approach to delivering HIV prevention. This represents an opportunity for local areas to further benefit from national support in addressing the rates of HIV within their communities.

The application phase for the new national HIV prevention innovation fund opens on Monday 29 June, running until the 31 July 2015. Applications are encouraged from voluntary sector organisations that focus on those groups at higher risk of HIV. The total available fund for 2015 to 2016 is up to £500,000. Those interested in the fund are asked to register at hiv.prevention@phe.gov.uk.

Background

  1. In 2013, an estimated 107,800 people were living with HIV in the UK, a quarter of whom were undiagnosed (26,000). The estimated prevalence of HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) aged 15 to 59 years was equivalent to 59 per 1,000 people, of whom 16% (7,200) were undiagnosed. An estimated 1 in 8 MSM in London have HIV. The estimated prevalence among black African communities, aged 15 to 59 years, was equivalent to 56 per 1,000 people, of whom between 38% (males) and 31% (females) were undiagnosed. More information is available on HIV in the UK including the ‘HIV in the UK: 2014 report’.
  2. The national HIV prevention innovation fund is funded by the allocation from the Department of Health to Public Health England for HIV prevention and sexual health promotion. As part of the HIV prevention programme the first national HIV home sampling service will also be rolled out later this year.
  3. Projects must have local authority endorsement in order to be eligible for the fund. Eligible projects can apply for the fund from the 29 June to 31 July 2015, by emailing hiv.prevention@phe.gov.uk.
  4. Public Health England exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It does this through world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, advocacy, partnerships and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. Visit our website www.gov.uk/phe or follow us on Twitter: @PHE_uk or Facebook: www.facebook.com/PublicHealthEngland.

Public Health England press office

Published 27 June 2015