HIV figures in town have increased

Stephen Lloyd MP took an HIV test at Eastbournes Avenue House to help bring attention to World Aids Day. 2012. November 27th 2012 E48074N'Senior Health Advisor  Donal Traynor takes a blood sample from Stephen Lloyd MP to test for HIV.

Stephen Lloyd MP took an HIV test at Eastbournes Avenue House to help bring attention to World Aids Day. 2012. November 27th 2012 E48074N'Senior Health Advisor Donal Traynor takes a blood sample from Stephen Lloyd MP to test for HIV.

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The number of people living with HIV in Eastbourne has risen significantly over the last 10 years.

This has led to the National AIDS Trust (NAT) calling on sexual health to be made a priority in the area.

Figures released by the charity show that currently one in 397 people in the town has HIV[1] - the most common strain of the virus. In 2002 the figure stood at one in every 806.

Now National AIDS Trust (NAT) is calling for Eastbourne and East Sussex councils to prioritise sexual health since East Sussex was handed the budgets for public health spending in April.

Deborah Jack, its chief executive, said, “East Sussex County Council it has been allocated £23,839,000 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.”

She added that local councillors need to push for a strong commitment to HIV from East Sussex County Council to ensure HIV preventation, adding, “Disinvestment in HIV prevention and testing would seriously harm public health, especially in an area like Eastbourne which has a high rate of HIV.”

NAT also says that 63 per cent of people living with HIV in Eastbourne are diagnosed late – this usually indicates that they are likely to have been infected for at least five years. The figure is significantly higher than the UK average of 47 per cent

A spokesman for East Sussex County Council said, “The health and wellbeing, including sexual health, of residents in East Sussex is a priority for East Sussex County Council and we work closely with our partner organisations.”

• NAT is asking people to hold a themed bake sale in their work, school or home and give out facts about HIV. For more information on this, visit the website at www.hivaware.org.uk