Almost £8 million is being invested in driving down HIV infections and providing information to improve people’s sexual health, Public Health Minister Anne Milton announced yesterday.

The money will go to the Terrence Higgins Trust and the Family Planning Association over three years.

Latest figures continue to show the largest increases in STIs were seen in men who have sex with men.

Terrence Higgins Trust and their partners will receive £6.7 million to aid HIV prevention in men who have sex with men and people from African communities, the groups most affected by HIV in England.

FPA will receive £1.13 million for their comprehensive specialist sexual health information service for the public and health workers.

There are nearly 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK with a quarter unaware of their status, meaning they are more likely to pass it on and are unable to benefit from effective treatment.

In 2010, there were around 3,000 new diagnoses in men who have sex with men, the highest number ever reported in one year.

Public Health Minister Anne Milton said: “Sexually transmitted infections can lead to serious health problems.

“One in twenty gay men and one in twenty black African men and women in England are HIV positive and in London this rises to one in every seven gay men.

“This money will help the Terrence Higgins Trust and FPA reach out to these communities. They will use a range of approaches including social media to encourage more people to come forward for testing.”

The Terrence Higgins Trust contract is worth £6,737,000 million for three years.

Sir Nick Partridge, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust said: “England has a strong record in HIV prevention and we are proud of the part we have played in this, but the stakes – and potential gains – have never been higher.

“It’s within our grasp to significantly reduce the rates of new infections by working together with local authorities, clinical services and most importantly the communities most at risk of HIV. Our plans are exciting, ambitious, but achievable, and we’re proud to have been entrusted with this work.”

Julie Bentley, Chief Executive of the FPA said: “FPA has delivered factual, accessible, and high quality sexual health information to the public and healthcare professionals for many years. We are delighted to have won this contract which is evidence of how respected and trusted our sexual health information continues to be.”