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Health minister announces innovative schemes to tackle HIV

The world’s first national radio service for prisons is developing a project to reduce the stigma around HIV, following funding from the Department of Health.

National Prison Radio is one of 12 schemes chosen from more than 70 which bid for a share of £600,000 of funding from the HIV Prevention Innovation Fund 2017 to 2018.

Revealing the winning bids on 13 November, public health minister Stephen Brine said the fund, now in its third year, was supporting projects “which aim to tackle HIV in more targeted and impactful ways, especially for those most at risk.”

Professor John Newton, director of health improvement at Public Health England (PHE), said the 12 projects “offer new and exciting ways to address key issues in HIV prevention.”

He said: “These projects will help share innovation and best practice around the country, helping other areas to replicate progress in London on lowering rates of HIV.”

The fund was established to help address the “wider determinants of high-risk behaviour” associated with HIV and to promote the prompt diagnosis of the infection especially among men who have sex with men.

Other issues it is aimed at include addressing stigma associated with HIV and ways of integrating HIV prevention into health promotion and other services. 

According to PHE, the virus is still a “major concern” despite advances in treatment. In 2015, an estimated 101,000 people in the UK had HIV with 13,500 unaware and at risk of unknowingly passing on the virus to others.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20203939

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