London HIV prevention groups have said they are outraged at the 20 per cent funding cut.

According to the BBC, the Inner North West London Primary Care Trust (PCT), which manages the Pan London HIV Prevention Programme, has cut the budget for 2011-12 by £516,000.

At the same time, the number of Londoners with HIV who contracted the infection in the UK has more than doubled since 2001 when the figure was 660, to 1,480 last year, according to latest figures.

The BBC’s Andy Dangerfield said: “In the capital, 28,000 people are living with HIV. This is about one in every 200 Londoners aged between 15 and 59 – a rate three times higher than any other region in England.”

According to the Terrence Higgins Trust, one in 10 gay men in the capital has HIV. Mark Delacour, from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Consortium, said that the cuts were short-sighted and would cost the capital more in the long run.

Diane Abbott, shadow public health minister and MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, said: “This is an extremely worrying development. We should be stepping up HIV prevention in London where we have the highest rates in the UK. One in every 200 people aged between 15 and 59 is currently infected and it is morally wrong and strategically stupid to cut this budget.

“Investing in HIV information and education is absolutely essential to protect lives and prevention is considerably cheaper than treatment.”