The Metro Centre, the Greenwich-based HIV prevention and sexual health charity, has been awarded a prestigious GlaxoSmithKline IMPACT Award worth £20,000 for its work with lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

The Metro Centre has been providing advice, support, information, events, education and training to LGB people, since 1983.

It runs a range of drop-in centres providing support and peer advice and a dedicated group for people 50 years of age and over.

The weekly clinic, ‘Pitstop’, provides free consultations with trained nurses with syphilis and Hepatitis A and B testing and provides HIV tests for over 500 individuals per year.

The Metro Centre is one of ten charities that beat hundreds of entrants from across the UK, and their work will be formally recognised at a ceremony in London’s National Gallery on April 17th. At the event an overall winner will be announced.

HIV infection rates amongst gay men have been increasing again over the last six years, and while AIDS charities have tried to tackle this problem through safe sex messages in the media,

The Metro Centre has a more personalised approach. Through its own research it found that there were a number of individuals who were having regular HIV tests but continuing to have unprotected sex.

In response, it established the Metrosafe programme, a one-to-one peer-mentoring scheme, which works through eight modules over six months with meetings every fortnight.

Marguerite McLaughlin, the Director of The Metro Centre, said: “Receiving recognition for the

pioneering way we have approached the increase of HIV infections in London with the Metrosafe

programme is great for the centre and for getting this model rolled-out further to more people.

“We are also grateful to the funders of this project – Greenwich Teaching Primary Care Trust and the Elton John AIDS foundation.

“This award puts the health of the LBG community firmly on the map and enables us to carry on offering a service that encourages safer sexual behaviour. HIV/AIDS is still a major problem, yet no longer receives the prominence it once did back in the 1980s.”

Lorraine Day, Director of UK Community Partnerships at GlaxoSmithKline, commented: “Our judges were very impressed with the range of services The Metro Centre has developed. The needs of all sections of a diverse community are met through the innovative and trail-blazing programmes offered by this charity.”