I have seen several heartbreaking reports regarding the imminent closure of Open Door, the HIV charity based in Brighton. After investigating further I am disturbed at the apparent lack of transparency on the part of the Diocese of Chichester, which has successfully supported the charity for the past 20 years, and the general funding of HIV both nationally and locally.

I am equally disturbed by the insultingly simplified statement by the diocese publicity spokesman who stated that living with HIV was becoming more like living with a long-term manageable condition.

In terms of funding there is general acceptance that primary care trusts (PCTs) are reducing their funding for HIV support. This at a time when key statistics clearly show HIV is on the increase together with other sexually transmitted diseases.

However, these reductions are being implemented without consultation within the community and one cannot help but voice alarm at this creeping funding withdrawal.

What is the formal policy of the Department of Health on the funding of HIV support and, perhaps more importantly, what is the formal budgeting for HIV support by Brighton and Hove PCT?

Open Door is a shining example of how to provide succour and compassion in a totally open environment, the benefit and legacy of which are incalculable.

Men, women and families have been the beneficiaries of the care provided and although efforts are being taken to outsource services, the lack of a co-ordinated approach will lead to future service users being unable to access support and treatment sources.

There is a sad truism prevailing in our so-called "free" NHS. Without the support of all manner of charities that provide research, group and individual advice we would be a lot worse off. Yes, I accept that people must act more responsibly with any serious medical condition but to make wildly inaccurate statements and reduce funding is a gross disservice to the population.

  • Peter J Southgate, Goldstone Road, Hove