Call for council to tackle HIV

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An Aids charity has claimed that Corby has the 26th highest incidence of people living with HIV in the UK.

The National Aids Trust (Nat) claims one in 388 people in Corby is living with HIV. It says the UK-wide figure is one in 650.

However, Northamptonshire County Council, which became responsible for public health from April disputes the figures.

It says that based on the actual numbers of people accessing HIV care in 2010-11, the rate is one in 905.

The charity is calling for the county council to prioritise sexual health when it allocates funding.

Chief executive Deborah Jack said: “From last month Northamptonshire County Council became, for the first time, responsible for sexual health diagnosis and prevention. It has been allocated £35,135,000 by the Government to spend on public health over the next year but worryingly within that budget there will be no ring-fencing for HIV.”

A spokesman for the county council disputed the figures and said it had allocated a budget for HIV prevention.

The spokesman said: “There are currently over 600 county residents aged 15 to 59 accessing HIV-related care in Northamptonshire. The diagnosed prevalence per 1,000 for the county as a whole is 1.54 per 1,000. The threshold of diagnosed HIV in 15 to 59-year-olds is two per 1,000 and Northampton is the only part of the county where this has been exceeded at 2.69 per 1,000. In Corby, it is 1.9 per 1,000. Heterosexual transmission is predominant, followed by men who have sex with men, this is similar to the national picture.

“The county also has some under-15s diagnosed with HIV, despite the universal antenatal screening programme.

“Public health became part of the county council in April this year, and this means the council is now responsible for the public health budget allocated by the Government. Plans are in place to set aside a specific amount of this budget for HIV prevention work for the coming year 2013-14.”