Exclusive: Government unveils £650k in new HIV spending

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

PinkNews Exclusive
The Government has revealed that £800,000 of new money will be spent on HIV prevention, and to reduce the numbers of late diagnoses.

Speaking to PinkNews Tory Vice Chair and MP for Finchley and Golders Green, Mike Freer said during a debate this evening Public Health Minister Jane Ellison announced new spending for HIV prevention.

A new £500,000 innovation fund was unveiled, which has been administered by Public Health England (PHE), and will allow small organisations to bid for funding of up to £50,000.

Noting that the campaign for was supported by Labour MP Ben Bradshaw and fellow Tory Nigel Evans, Mr Freer said another £300,000 pot, consisting of £150,000 from PHE to match £150,000 given by the Elton John AIDS Foundation would be used to help reduce late diagnoses of HIV.

As well as the extra funding, it was also revealed that the 56 Dean Street Clinic will be used as a model for clinics across the country, given its “innovative approach to technology”. Mr Freer said the clinic demonstrated that it was “more about well being, rather than just treating symptoms”.

Public Health Minister Jane Ellison said: “Today I have set out how we will be more bold and innovative with our national HIV prevention programme.

“Not only will we deliver 50,000 kits through the first national home sampling service, we will also invest up to £500,000 to look for new and innovative ways to tackle HIV.

“Most importantly, we are working closely with charities and local authorities to take this forward.”

Although inclusive sex and relationship education (SRE) was raised, Ms Ellison said she was unable to comment.

Speaking to PinkNews after the debate, Mr Freer said: “I am delighted with this response from the Government. Colleagues and I have been pressing behind the scenes on various issues, and it is really good to see that Jane Ellison has been able to secure some new money for this.

“This new fund takes on board an increase in the numbers of new HIV diagnoses in men who have sex with men, which is a worrying trend – she wants to look at new ways of tackling HIV prevention in new and innovative ways.”

A new report published by Public Health England (PHE) in November in advance of National HIV Testing Week showed 6% of gay and bisexual men are now living with HIV, rising to 13% in London (one in eight).