Wandsworth Council must prioritise sexual health, claim National Aids Trust
7:00am Saturday 23rd March 2013 in News
Wandsworth Council must prioritise sexual health when they become responsible for public health spending in April, say the National Aids Trust.
The borough has one of the highest rates of people living with HIV in the UK, with one in 170 people in Wandsworth living with HIV.
This figure has almost doubled since 2002 when the figure stood at one in every 250. The figure is one in 650 UK wide.
Forty-four percent of people living with HIV in Wandsworth are diagnosed late, meaning they are likely to have been infected for at least five years.
Late diagnosis can mean worse health outcomes, a decreased life expectancy and a greater chance of passing the virus on.
People diagnosed late have an eleven-fold increased risk of death within one year of HIV diagnosis compared to those diagnosed promptly.
Deborah Jack, chief executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust) says: “In April, Wandsworth council will for the first time be responsible for sexual health diagnosis and prevention.
“It has been allocated £24,738,000 by the Government to spend on public health over the next year but worryingly within that budget there will be no ring-fencing for HIV.
“We need strong commitment to HIV from Wandsworth’s local councillors to ensure HIV prevention and testing continue to receive the necessary funding.
“Disinvestment in HIV prevention and testing would seriously harm public health, especially in an area like Wandsworth which has a high rate of HIV.”