HIV shock – NHS urged to target Africans

LONDON - The latest figures from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) show an astonishing vulnerability of black and minority ethnic communities to HIV infection, with this group accounting for two thirds of all new cases reported in 2005.
This dire situation calls for a fundamental review of publi

c policies if the needs of these communities are to be adequately met.
The African HIV Policy Network, AHPN, has called on the government and NHS to re-prioritise and strengthen HIV prevention work with African communities. This should be accompanied by the abandoning of all those policies and practices, such as charging for HIV treatment and prosecutions for HIV transmission, that have the effect of heightening HIV-related stigma and driving the infection underground.
Rhon Reynolds, Deputy CEO of the AHPN says “year after year we continue to see the dire impact the epidemic has on African communities in the UK. It is unfortunate that we also continue to see a deluge of negative public policy, which has resulted in institutionalising HIV-related stigma that continues to be a barrier to taking an HIV test. What we need is a robust multi-sectoral response if we are to tackle this epidemic head-on.”

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