Lewisham council commits to halving late and undiagnosed HIV through early testing

In the run up to World AIDS Day on Monday, December 1, Lewisham Council, in London has committed to halving late and undiagnosed HIV by passing a motion on HIV testing in support of the Halve It campaign.

Lewisham to Half HIV

PASSED unanimously by the Council on Wednesday, the motion recognises the importance of local action in coordinating and commissioning accessible and effective HIV testing, and outlines a commitment by the Council to strengthening its own provision of HIV testing services through working with local NHS partners, HIV charities and patient groups.

Cllr Alan Hall, tabling the motion, said: “HIV is a significant public health issue in Lewisham and we are committed to taking practical steps to tackle this in partnership with local groups. I am proud that Lewisham is leading the way with supporting Halve It and its objectives, and I would encourage other councils across London to do the same.”

Heidi Alexander MP, herself a supporter of the Halve It campaign, added: ‘The sooner HIV is diagnosed, the sooner appropriate care can begin. We know that early testing for HIV saves lives and money too, and I fully support Lewisham Council’s work on this public health priority.’

Halve It is a national coalition that focuses on the expansion of HIV testing services, on the basis that early testing of HIV saves lives and also results in substantial savings to the public health budget. Since its inception in 2010, Halve It has galvanised national and local cross-party support for HIV testing, and is supported in its aims by the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

Lewisham’s action on HIV testing comes in the same week as comments from Andy Burnham, Shadow Secretary of State for Health, who said: “Much more needs to be done to tackle HIV in this country. Everything from awareness around prevention, to early diagnosis, treatment and care. A key part of the solution lies in collaboration across stakeholder groups, nationally and locally. The Halve It campaign is an excellent example of local and national organisations and individuals uniting around an important issue and driving change.”

Halve It is a coalition whose members represent the following organisations:

•     African Health Policy Network

•     All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV and AIDS

•     British Association for Sexual Health and HIV

•     British HIV Association

•     Department of Health*

•     Elton John AIDS Foundation

•     Gilead Sciences Ltd

•     HIV Clinical Reference Group

•     HIV Pharmacy Association

•     Local Government Association*

•     MEDFASH

•     National AIDS Trust

•     National HIV Nurses Association

•     National Institute for Health and Care Excellence*

•     NAZ Project London

•     Positive East

•     Positively UK

•     Public Health England*

•     Royal College of General Practitioners

•     Royal College of Physicians

•     Scottish HIV and AIDS Group*

•     Terrence Higgins Trust

•     Tri-Borough Public Health Service*

*Observer Member

 

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