14 Aug 2015

Elton John Aids Foundation funds new HIV plans for Leeds

Health Wellbeing

HIV testing in Leeds is going to get a boost thanks to a successful bid for funding from a joint project with the Elton John Aids Foundation (EJAF) and Public Health England (PHE). The aim is to help people to get early identification and support, as well as preventing further spread of HIV.

Leeds beat four other cities to win funding which will deliver:

• HIV testing for around 16,000 people when they register at targeted GP practices.

• Trials of a new prompt for GPs to consider HIV testing when someone presents with illnesses that could be an indicator of HIV.

The successful bid follows on from Leeds winning ‘Young people's sexual health service project of the year’ at the UK Sexual Health Awards.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, chair of the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said:

“Leeds has got a great record for innovation and promoting ways to keep people healthy and I want to thank EJAF and PHE for their commitment to invest in the city’s health. This pioneering public health work can help people in Leeds get earlier diagnosis and treatment where needed. This could also really impact on reducing further HIV infections.

“This funding is excellent news and a tribute to the quality of the wider sexual health work being done in Leeds by teams working in Public Health, the NHS and third sector. Leeds will also be able to share what we find out from this project with practitioners, hopefully leading to improved diagnosis and prevention work elsewhere in the UK.”

Professor Jane Anderson CBE, HIV, Sexual and Reproductive Health Lead at PHE said:

“We were very impressed by the funding bid from Leeds and both PHE and EJAF were delighted to be able to agree to support this project. We look forward very much to working with the teams in Leeds to deliver this work and sharing the valuable evidence that emerges from it.”

Vicky Womack, Sexual Health Lead at Leeds City Council Public Health team said:

“Our bid focussed on primary care, because we know people with undiagnosed HIV may see their GP but symptoms may be missed. This trial will see HIV testing routinely offered to people registering with some GP practices across Leeds. We believe we can achieve a longer term change in practise and behaviour in primary care to improve earlier diagnosis of HIV.”

Anne Aslett, Executive Director of the Elton John AIDS Foundation stressed the charity’s commitment to finding effective ways to reduce late diagnosis in the UK. She said:

“The UK has led the way in so many aspects of HIV diagnosis and care. This work represents an opportunity for communities in the UK to continue to lead. We are delighted to be collaborating with PHE to support this initiative.”

For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team