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​​​Changes to HIV care and support services

Between May and June 2016, Southwark CCG, supported by our sexual health commissioning team, based at Lambeth Council, worked together to  consult on proposals ​​to change how people living with HIV access advice and counselling services. ​ The proposals were informed by the Lambeth Southwark and Lewisham joint Sexual health Strategy published in 2012. View details on the HIV care and support consultation page. This review found that we needed to change the service model because:

  • The changing treatment and diagnosis of HIV means that most people living with HIV are able to work and have a normal life expectancy. Treatment has transformed HIV from a fatal disease into a long term condition.
  • A very small proportion of people living with HIV actually access these services.
  • People living with HIV are already using mainstream services.

 Following this recent consultation, Lambeth Council, in conjunction with Southwark and Lewisham CCGs, have decided to end the contracts for:

  • Counselling provided by the Terrence Higgins Trust
  • Advice and Advocacy provided by the Terrence Higgins Trust
  • First Point (assessment/signposting service) provided by Metro

 The following services which were also consulted on will continue:

  • Peer support and mentoring provided by Metro, the capacity of which will be expanded
  • Children and Families services for families affected by HIV provided by Metro/Positive Parenting

 A steering group, made up of service users, clinicians and key stakeholder organisations will oversee the implementation of a transition action plan and ensure that people living with HIV feel confident in accessing the mainstream services.  The pathways to support services have been revised and this will be communicated widely to service users and key stakeholders. Members of the expanded HIV peer support service will receive additional training on the new service model and staff in the mainstream services will receive additional training on the needs of people living with HIV.

 The council and the CCGs acknowledge the contribution that the affected services have made to improve the lives of people living with HIV in south east London and look forward to working with both Metro and the Terrence Higgins Trust in responding to the evolving needs of people living with HIV and the needs of people who are at greatest risk of acquiring the condition.