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AIDS spending 'needs clear vision'

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Half of all councils are spending their share of a £22m grant to support people with HIV without a clear vision of local needs, a charity has warned.

The National AIDS Trust (NAT) said a review of the AIDS support grant also highlighted a need for greater transparency in the use of the funding stream, which is ring-fenced for the social care needs of people living with the virus.

It said all top-tier and unitary councils should conduct needs assessments before planning and commissioning the services paid for with the grant.

Chief executive Deborah Jack said councils should also be using their websites to highlight the services they provided with the funding.

“The grant was first introduced in 1989 when the reality of an HIV diagnosis was very different,” she said.

“Today new treatments mean that many people living with HIV can expect to live into old age. The social care needs have changed but they have not disappeared.”

According to the charity, councils’ share of the 2009-10 funding ranged from £2,000 to £860,000.

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