Southwark Council in London is the latest local authority to join the ‘Halve It’ campaign to reduce by 50% the number of residents diagnosed late with HIV and those living with undiagnosed HIV.
The campaign – backed by all the three political parties on the Council and reported by Southwark News (above) – is being pushed in 64 local authorities across the country with higher rates of HIV. Southwark has the second highest HIV prevalence rates nationally and is home to large numbers of residents from two high-risk groups: men having sex with men and the African community.
In 2013 there were 2,692 people living with undiagnosed HIV in Southwark. The rate of diagnosed HIV in the borough is 12 per 1,000 people (compared with a UK rate of 2) and 38% of HIV diagnoses were late in Southwark compared with a national rate of 42%.
The motion tabled by Liberal Democrats at council assembly last week called on the borough to:
- ensure rates of late diagnosed HIV are included in local plans for health, wellbeing and social care services (Joint Strategic Needs Assessment)
- produce a report outlining what needs to be done locally in commissioning and providing services to achieve the halving of late HIV diagnosis and undiagnosed HIV
- be a public supporter of the ‘Halve It’ campaign
Councillor David Noakes, a Liberal Democrat councillor and Opposition Spokesperson for Health on Southwark Council, said:
“Southwark has the second highest HIV prevalence figures in the UK, so it’s a big step forward that the Council is now backing the Halve It campaign formally.
“With HIV figures among men who have sex with men going up year-on-year since 2007, the importance of reducing late and undiagnosed HIV is crucial in the battle to reduce new infections and improve health outcomes for everyone.
“I would like to thank Simon Hughes MP for bringing the Halve It campaign to my attention, and my colleagues across the political divide for supporting this motion unanimously.”