Sexual health commissioning to be reviewed under new NHS plan, but funding cuts threaten England’s achievements in HIV


  • Jo Whelan
  • Medical News
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  • England’s achievements in HIV treatment and prevention are under threat from cuts to public health funding, organisations say.
  • The new NHS long-term plan has promised a review of sexual health commissioning.

Commissioning of sexual health services is to be reviewed under the newly published NHS long-term plan. However, the plan offers little reassurance in the face of drastic funding cuts to sexual health services, the National Aids Trust (NAT) has warned.  Public health is now the responsibility of local government, and spending cuts have had a “stark impact” on sexual health services.

“While there has been success in reducing HIV diagnoses in England in recent years, the very services that achieved this are being decimated,” said the NAT in its Blog. Services are at further risk from the impending removal of the public health ring-fence and move to locally raised business rates. The NAT is calling for these questions to be addressed urgently.

The King’s Fund noted that sexual health services have been among the biggest losers from cuts in public health spending. A 2.6% cut in the public health grant for 2019/20, confirmed in December, means further cuts are likely, it says.

The British HIV Association said: “The UK today has one of the best success rates for people taking HIV treatment anywhere in the world. Reducing public health funding in this drastic way, and thereby reducing investment in HIV prevention, testing and access to care, puts all of this in jeopardy. Sustainable funding is required to maintain the outstanding results we have worked so hard to achieve.”