Government asked to ensure national HIV strategy

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The National AIDS Trust is calling on the government to fulfil the UK’s UN commitment and ensure that a national HIV strategy is in place from 2011.

According to the charity, the current HIV and sexual health strategy expires next month.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all recently agreed strategic approaches for the next few years to address HIV in devolved policy areas.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said that sexual health was a priority of the department and that it would be publishing a White Paper on health in December which would set out HIV strategy.

NAT estimates that by the end of 2011 there will be more than 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK.

Chief executive Deborah Jack said: “Without strategic, political leadership on HIV, the issue will become sidelined and silenced by stigma. Or at best, HIV will be only addressed as a health issue – disregarding the social context which must also be tackled if we are to respond effectively to the epidemic.

“A new national strategy is needed which takes account of the significant changes in the last decade in HIV testing and treatment, in health and social care provision, in legal rights, and in the epidemic itself. New HIV diagnoses are now three times what they were ten years ago and we have yet to see evidence of a decline in rates of new infection.”