Kemptown MP urges local Councils to support motion on HIV testing

Besi Besemar November 7, 2014

Simon Kirby, the MP for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven, has written to the leaders of the main political groups on both Brighton and Hove City and East Sussex County Councils to urge them to support a Council Motion on HIV Testing.

Simon Kirby MP for Kemptown and Peacehaven
Simon Kirby MP for Kemptown and Peacehaven

RESEARCH SHOWS the earlier you test the better your prognosis. Recent statistics indicate that late diagnosis figures for HIV were at 42 per cent in 2013, which is down significantly from 54 per cent in 2008, but still shows that there is much more to do.

If diagnosed early, and treated correctly, those living with HIV have improved life expectancy and live healthy, active lives, which is why Mr Kirby says it is important for all Local Authorities, in particular, Brighton and Hove, to continue to push forward in working towards further reducing these figures.

The proposed Council Motion would see both Councils acknowledge the prevalence of HIV in the area, and commit to provide more HIV testing services. In 2012 there were an estimated 22,000 people living in the UK who were unaware of their HIV Positive status, further demonstrating the need for work to be done on this matter.

Simon said: “Through my work as both the MP for Brighton Kemptown, and the Vice-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group HIV/AIDS, I have been a strong and vocal supporter of strengthened HIV testing.

“The figures clearly show that, whilst the situation is improving, there is still significant work to be done to reduce the proportion of late diagnoses, which have both a huge impact on quality of life, and are also a strain and cost for local services.

“I have written to the leaders of the political groups at Brighton and Hove City and East Sussex County Councils to urge them to support a Council Motion on HIV Testing, and I sincerely hope that this will be implemented.”

“I am willing to work with everybody that wants to in order to make a difference on this important matter. This is not about party politics, but about seeing a tangible difference to the lives of those living with HIV in the area.”

The fact remains that, if diagnosed late, there is a much higher likelihood of a need for more complex, expensive treatments, meaning that investing in early diagnosis will not only give many people a better quality of life and a longer life expectancy, but reduce the cost and strain on local healthcare services.

Cllr Warren Morgan
Cllr Warren Morgan

Cllr Warren Morgan, Leader of the Labour and Cooperative group on Brighton and Hove City Council, said Labour would support the Motion.

He responded to Mr Kirby, saying: “We support all efforts to improve HIV testing that builds on the investments in services made under the last Labour government” click here:

“I would hope that Mr Kirby can persuade his Conservative colleague in London to reverse the 50% cut in funding to HIV/AIDS services” click here:

If passed by the Local Councils, the Motion would see them openly pledge to halve both the percentage of people diagnosed late and the proportion of people living undiagnosed in the local area by 2020.