Oxford

Oxfordshire's HIV support service saved from closure

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An HIV support service in Oxfordshire which faced closure after its funding was withdrawn has had a reprieve.

The county council and local clinical commissioning group (CCG) had considered cutting funding for service, which has been provided by the Terrence Higgins Trust for the past 16 years.

The CCG has now provided £75,000 to allow it to operate for the next six months, the trust said.

Sue Peters, from the trust, described the service as "vitally important".

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It offers face-to-face support, as well as therapy, prevention resources and respite care.

Oxfordshire County Council, which is attempting to save £290m between 2010 to 2018, said its funding was no longer appropriate as users could use other support services provided locally by the authority.

The trust warned the proposals would leave 200 people living with HIV with no support services in their area.

A petition calling for the potential "dangerous and regressive decision" to be overturned has been signed by almost 400 people.

Ms Peters said she was "delighted" the service had received funding and added the trust was "looking forward to working with the CCG to make sure services provided in the future are relevant and sustainable".

"There will always be people who prefer to come along to a voluntary organisation that feels less formal and more in tune with individuals' needs, and we can keep on meeting those needs," she added.

Oxfordshire CCG said it would be talking to users of the service "in the next few months".

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