HIV prevention plan in London gets £3.4m funding

HIV virus
Image caption Diagnoses of HIV in London rose by 8% between 2011 and 2012

Up to £3.4m has been provided for a new three-year HIV prevention programme in the capital, London Councils said.

The services, beginning from 2014, will be aimed at gay men and African communities, and will include condom distribution and outreach work.

The programme comes after a study commissioned by London Councils found diagnoses of the virus rose by 8% between 2011 and 2012, to 2,832 cases.

London accounted for almost half of the new cases in England last year.

London Councils, which represents 33 local authorities, said 18 of the 20 boroughs in England with the highest diagnosed prevalence rate of HIV are in London.

'Major problem'

Councillor Teresa O'Neill, London Councils' executive member for health, said: "It is alarming to see such a sharp rise in HIV diagnoses, but London boroughs have been quick to act.

"However, we have recognised that there are some cases where it is more effective to work together on a London-wide basis."

Dr Yvonne Doyle, London regional director for Public Health England, said HIV "continues to be a major public health problem in London".

She said: "Men who have sex with men and black African heterosexuals remain the groups with the highest HIV prevalence in London and it is important that there are cohesive and collaborative services across the city to support them."

The new scheme will run alongside existing projects.

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