Elton John AIDS Foundation joins forces with three London councils to tackle HIV

1 December 2017

To mark World AIDS Day, Southwark Council is pleased to announce it will be part of a new collaboration to tackle HIV in South East London.

Southwark Council will be working in partnership with the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Lambeth and Lewisham Councils to dramatically reduce HIV transmission thanks to additional investment to fund the commissioning of new evidence-based interventions to address local health needs.

Believed to be the first of its kind in the world, the collaboration involves the creation of a Social Investment Partnership. This innovative model is a way of bringing additional resources from philanthropic and private investors to supplement local services.

This new partnership will also bring together local NHS clinical commissioning groups, NHS England and Public Health England and voluntary and community sector organisations, as well as the private sector, to commission innovative interventions to increase HIV testing in high risk groups as well as improving access to HIV treatment and retention in care that are specifically targeted to the needs of local people.

Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham have some of the highest rates of HIV in the country as they are home to many communities at high risk of HIV infection. In 2015, 2950 Southwark residents received HIV-related care and there were 153 new HIV diagnoses. From 2014 to 2016, data highlights that 36.5 per cent of new diagnoses of HIV in Southwark were made at a late stage of infection, higher than the London average.

The project will be led by Lambeth Council and will focus on increasing HIV testing, reducing late diagnosis and improving engagement in HIV care. All parties agree that this Social Investment Partnership model offers an enormous potential to help supplement the local health and social care economy in their fight against HIV and AIDS.

Alongside this, Professor Kevin Fenton Public Health England’s National Director of Health and Wellbeing who is currently seconded to Southwark Council as Director of Health and Wellbeing, is part of the national Mediaplanet UK 2017 HIV Awareness Campaign. The campaign brings together the Terrence Higgins Trust, the Elton John Aids Foundation, UNAIDS, the British HIV Association and other key leaders to educate and raise HIV awareness. Professor Fenton features in a video for the campaign that seeks to highlight the stigma that often surrounds HIV and AIDS.

The campaign, also launching today, focuses on the realities of living with HIV today, drawing on the experiences and insights of a range of people connected to tackling HIV and AIDS.

Commenting on the Social Investment Partnership, Sir Elton John said: ‘”The UK has one of the best systems to treat people living with HIV in the world. We need to build on this and some excellent local HIV services to increase HIV diagnosis and get the people who need it into care. I’m so proud that we are partnering with local government who have been on the frontlines of this disease for so long in the UK.”

Cllr Maisie Anderson, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Social Regeneration, said: “I am pleased to see that Southwark is at the forefront of pioneering new ways of tackling HIV. I know that everyone at Southwark is hugely proud to be working alongside the Elton John AIDS Foundation to really make a difference to communities across the three boroughs that may be at most risk from HIV. I look forward to seeing the progress of this programme and the benefits that this extra funding can bring to local people and services.”

Professor Kevin Fenton said: “In the UK real gains have been thanks to a combination of increased HIV testing, early access to effective HIV treatment, combined with the uptake of preventative measures. This partnership between the Elton John AIDS Foundation and three local authorities is a really exciting step in improving HIV outcomes in South East London.”

Page last updated: 01 December 2017