Ahead of World AIDS Day on Saturday 1 December, London local government has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting those affected by HIV/AIDS and to ending new HIV infections in the capital by 2030.
Borough leaders have agreed to continue funding for the London HIV Prevention Programme (LHPP) – the ground-breaking public health collaboration that has made a major contribution to the dramatic reversal in London’s HIV transmission rates.
Facilitated by London Councils following the transfer of public health responsibilities to local government, the LHPP was established by the boroughs in 2014 in response to the previous decade’s increasing HIV rates in the capital. The LHPP oversees a free condom distribution scheme, provides outreach services targeting at-risk groups such as men who have sex with men, and runs the award-winning Do It London public awareness campaign which provides all Londoners with information about HIV prevention.
Since 2014, London has made remarkable progress in addressing the HIV challenge. The most recent figures from Public Health England revealed a substantial decrease in London’s HIV diagnosis rates of 21 per cent in 2016-17.
The LHPP’s success at promoting HIV prevention means that boroughs have decided to continue the programme’s funding until 2022.
Cllr Ray Puddifoot, London Councils’ Executive member for health & care, said:
“World AIDS Day is a chance to raise awareness, show support for those affected, and redouble our efforts to tackle HIV/AIDS through promoting public health.
“I am immensely proud that borough leaders have agreed to continue working collaboratively through the LHPP, which is a public health success story. Through pooling resources, London boroughs are making a real difference in promoting Londoners’ health and wellbeing.”
Earlier this year, London joined the worldwide Fast-Track Cities initiative and became one of the first global cities to meet the UN’s diagnosis and treatment targets. Figures released yesterday by Public Health England confirm that HIV diagnosis rates in the UK continue to fall.
London has also pledged to achieve three ambitious HIV goals by 2030: zero new transmissions, zero deaths, and zero stigma.
Paul Steinberg, lead commissioner of the LHPP, said:
“London is now a world leader in HIV prevention and has achieved global targets in combating the epidemic. The boroughs’ commitment to working together on sexual health has been a key part of the capital’s impressive progress in reducing HIV rates.
“However, HIV remains a major public health challenge. The capital is home to an estimated 39,000 people living with the condition, of which an estimated 2,000 people remain undiagnosed. While this is significant progress compared to when the LHPP began, we still have a long way to go to meet those additional ambitious Fast-Track Cities targets.
“As we mark World AIDS Day, we remain as committed as ever to raising awareness, improving public health outcomes, and leading the way towards ending HIV altogether.”