London’s councils have agreed a new funding plan for HIV services aimed at gay men and people from Africa from next year. The money will be spent on key HIV prevention services, including condom distribution and some outreach work.

Up to £3.4 million of funding will be spent across the city between next year and 2017, in addition to the millions that are already spent by each borough: since taking over responsibility for public health in April, boroughs have spent at least £5 million, individually and in small collective groups, on commissioning a wide range of services tailored to local communities. The London-wide programme will sit alongside and complement these locally-commissioned projects.

In April this year it was announced that GMFA and other sexual health charities were facing uncertain futures after funding by the Pan-London HIV prevention programme was substantially reduced, despite new diagnoses of HIV rising by eight per cent.

Cllr Teresa O’Neill, London Councils’ executive member for health, said: ‘It is alarming to see such a sharp rise in HIV diagnoses, but London boroughs have been quick to act.

‘Local authorities are well-placed to prevent the spread of HIV as they can commission services on a local level, tailored to the needs of their communities and link them into other services. However, we have recognised that there are some cases where it is more effective to work together on a London-wide basis.’

London accounted for almost half of the new HIV diagnoses in England last year, with almost one in five people unaware of their infection.

Paul Ward, Acting Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said: ‘We are delighted that London Councils have committed to fund a new pan-London HIV prevention programme, which we have argued the need for. We know there are at least 10,000 people with undiagnosed HIV in London. That is ten thousand too many. London needs a city-wide plan to stop the spread of HIV, and this decision to fund coordinated action provides a much-needed boost to the effort to bring HIV in the capital under control.’