HIV prevention projects in London for the next three years will be linked up following agreement between leaders of all of the capital’s boroughs.
Members of the London Councils’ Leaders committee decided that a number of services aimed at gay men and African communities should work together to lower the prevalence of HIV.
£3.4 million has been provided for the scheme where councils will work together, including distributing condoms and working out in communities.
This will compliment the services already being provided by local boroughs, according to London Councils’ Executive member for health, Councillor Teresa O’Neill.
She said: “Local authorities are well placed to prevent the spread of HIV as they can commission services on a local level, tailored to the needs of their communities and links them into other services. However, we have recognised that there are some cases where it is more effective to work together on a London-wide basis.”
18 of the 20 local authorities that have the highest rates of HIV are based in London, with nearly half of all new cases being diagnosed in the capital.
Leaders agreed the new programme after speaking to experts in HIV commissioning and prevention as well as members of the public.
This is an “unprecedented opportunity” to provide a seamless transistion from testing to care for those people who do test positive, according to Dr Yvonne Doyle, London regional director for Public Health England.
She added: “HIV does not respect geographical boundaries and this new London-wide approach in certain areas to tackle the infection could add great value to existing local initiatives.
“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.”