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Since 2013, local authorities have been primarily responsible for sexual health services in England. Sexual health services are paid for by a ring-fenced public health grant – funded by the national Government.

Adequate public health funding is vital if we are to prioritise prevention, tackle new HIV infections and ensure that everyone is supported to achieve good sexual health.

You can read our joint briefing on public health funding and the impact on sexual health below.

Cuts to services

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The local authority public health budget is being cut by £700 million in real terms between 2014/15 and 2019/20. The cuts to funding have led to sexual health service budgets being cut by 25% in this time.

This comes at a time when rates of syphilis and gonorrhea are skyrocketing and demand for sexual health services has risen by 13% between 2013 and 2017.

The cuts to funding are having a direct impact on access to sexual health services. Data has shown that in one month in 2017, over 1,000 people were turned away from sexual health services in one London area as the services did not have capacity to see everyone. Over half (54%) of those turned away had symptoms of one or more sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

There is no future funding settlement for the local authority public health grant past 2019/20 and no solution from the government to the very urgent demand being seen in sexual health services now. These funding cuts are short-sighted and ill-thought through. They’ll ultimately lead to extra pressures on the health and social care system, as transmission of HIV and STIs continues.

What we want

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We are working with HIV, sexual health and reproductive health charities, medical authorities and local government to push the Government to reverse cuts to local authority public health budgets. 

We want public health, including sexual and reproductive health services to be fully funded to meet local need. The Government’s Spending Review in 2019 should include an uplift in public health funding that reverses the cuts and invests in local prevention services. 

If you would like to get in touch with us about this campaign, email [email protected].