As Sexual Health becomes the focus of a new programme on Channel 4 tonight, one of UK’s leading gay health charities, GMFA looks set to be losing its funding, leaving it with an uncertain future.
Pinknews is reporting that GMFA, which was founded in 1992, will no longer receive funding for its London HIV Information Services after being notified that funding had been cut from the Pan-London HIV Prevention Programme, which is funded by the NHS.
Services affected will be GMFA’s websites and the sex and health magazine, FS – as well as Terrence Higgins Trust press advertising campaigns.
GMFA’s Head of Programmes, Matthew Hodson, said:
“I am genuinely shocked and appalled by these decisions. I fail to understand the thinking behind it. There are more gay men living with HIV in London than anywhere else in the UK, and the numbers continue to rise.
“Considering the size of London’s gay population, there is an urgent need for broad based campaigns and information resources, which are able to reach 1,000s of men. All of the work that is continuing to be funded can at best only reach a fraction of London’s gay population, and these cuts comes at a time when the need to raise awareness is higher than ever.”
Cary James, Head of Health Improvement Programmes at Terrence Higgins Trust, said:
“This kind of large-scale cut to HIV prevention is always risky, but in areas of high prevalence it is positively short-sighted. The capital has by far the highest level of HIV in the UK. Cutting prevention services here will lead to an increase in new infections, each of which incurs a lifetime treatment cost to the NHS of anywhere up to £350,000. We are doing everything we can to fill the gaps, but without sustained investment in city-wide prevention work we and our partner organisations will be fighting with one arm tied behind our back.”
The cuts come at a time where new HIV infections amongst gay men are at an all time high. Higher than the levels recorded in the 1980s.
56 Dean Street, The Gay UK’s official sexual health partners are the focus of a brand new programme tonight on Channel 4. The documentary follows the team at London’s busiest sexual health clinic.