In areas of high HIV prevalence in England, half the local authorities have not made HIV a public health priority, according to an analysis conducted by HIV Prevention England partners and presented at the British HIV Association (BHIVA) conference in Manchester last month.
In each local authority area, the health and wellbeing board is meant to produce a strategy document as well as a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment. These two documents outline priorities for public health commissioning and service provision.
Looking at England’s 35 highest-prevalence areas, in 18 of them the strategy documents did not make HIV a priority. This happened in some of the most-affected parts of the country, including Brighton & Hove, Camden and Islington.
Some local areas had much better practice, and did address HIV in an effective, targeted and outcome-driven way. Merton in South London was given as an example.
Speakers at the BHIVA conference recommended that service providers, clinicians, people with HIV and members of the public should engage with their local health and wellbeing board and shape their agenda.