The government has come under fire over delays dogging both this year's funding and the national strategy for HIV and AIDS, promised three years ago.

Allocations for this year have yet to be made, with the Department of Health promising an announcement 'later this month'.

HSJ sources said this year's funding was 'critical' as it will bring a change in funding formulas which will leave several health authorities worse off.

Voluntary sector organisations are also being hit because HAs cannot place contracts with them.

MP Neil Gerrard, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on HIV, last week wrote to public health minister Yvette Cooper 'to find out exactly what is going on'. He told HSJ : 'She came along to us in March and said that [the funding] was imminent. We are now well into May and there is no sign of it.'

Under the formula, HAs with high numbers of residents with HIV, largely in south London, will gain extra resources. But it will mean cuts for north London commissioners such as Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster HA.

Its director of commissioning, Sally Hargreaves, said delays left the HA taking 'significant risks about how much we will get. We can't sign contracts - we can only give an indication of our plans'.

National Aids Trust chief executive Derek Bodell said it was vital to increase funding to tackle the growing prevalence of HIV and the extra costs of longer-term treatments. But he placed more importance on the government's failure to deliver its strategy on HIV and AIDS, promised in 1997.A draft was due to be released for public consultation in March. Instead, a progress report on the draft strategy was issued last month.

The results of consultation with interested groups on that report will feed into a further draft strategy, now due to for public consultation in the autumn. The final strategy is expected next year.

HSJ sources blamed the delays on the fact that current drafts were 'awful' and 'answered none of the questions we expected them to'.

What the National AIDS Trust HIV action plan calls for Improvements in commissioning services.

A pan-London strategy.

Resources for organisations representing people with HIV.

Changes to the AIDS (control) Act to ensure funds are not mis-spent.

Co-ordination of social research.

The setting of quality standards for services.

The establishment of HIV service networks.

A national health promotion framework.