"Extra funding towards this target is helpful but more is needed if we are to truly scale up across the whole of local government."
Responding to the Government’s publication of its HIV Action Plan, which aims to reduce new infections by 80 per cent by 2025 and end infections and deaths by 2030, Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“Councils with their public health responsibilities have been leading the way in reducing HIV infections and this plan provides a helpful framework to help achieve the ultimate goal of ending this epidemic altogether.
“By identifying and assessing gaps in our testing and outreach, we can extend our support to people who may be unaware of their HIV status and whether they need treatment.
“This in turn will help councils and the charities they work with, in cooperation with HIV Prevention England, to design a robust national programme that reaches out to underserved groups, while also developing effective campaigns across the board to raise awareness and reduce stigma.
“Testing is crucial, particularly in key high risk groups, but we also must not lose sight of the emotional, financial and mental health support some people living with HIV will need to remain in treatment and keep the virus suppressed.
“Extra funding towards this target is helpful but more is needed if we are to truly scale up across the whole of local government, including linking up with the NHS to ensure that testing takes place.”