Saturday 5 January 2008

A Win At Last

Last month and back in May, I blogged about the threat to the funding of the London HIV prevention serving gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM), even though London has a lower rate of HIV infection (from men who have sex with men) then the national average. Last month there was a proposal to actually cut the funding for this by over thirty percent.

When this was announced there was an out-cry, which included lobbying of MPs, Ministers, local PCTs and a petition on the Downing Street website, and it has all paid off. NHS London (The Strategic Health Authority for London) has stated that there will be no cuts in funding for HIV Prevention, that there is plenty of money to fund HIV Prevention work to both gay men and the Black African communities. Previously London PCT’s said that there wasn’t enough money to fund both, therefore they would cut the funding for gay men’s HIV prevention. NHS London has reviewed this, at board level, and said there is enough money to fund both.

We can take a moment, sit back and give ourselves a pat on the back. If we hadn’t complained to our MPs and PCTs, if we hadn’t signed the petition on the Downing Street website, then these cuts would have gone ahead. Gay men’s HIV prevention services would have been cut by a third. I am amazed and delighted that so many of us raised our voices together in protest, we really achieved something.

The question does remain, why did the London PCTs try and cut this funding by a third? What was their agenda? I know I could get deeply paranoid thinking about this, but the question does remain.