First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has faced questions after an HIV charity faces closure following cuts to government funding.

HIV Scotland received about £270,000 a year from the Scottish Government but was unsuccessful in the latest round of funding.

The Scottish Government has since given it £70,000 to keep it running until July but half of the seven staff have already been laid off and the charity fears it will have to close.

READ MORE: First Minister under pressure as HIV Scotland at risk over Government funding cut

Speaking at First Minister's Questions, Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "HIV is growing in Scotland.

"A fresh outbreak which began in Glasgow in 2015 continues and 13% of Scots infected with the virus don't know they have it.

"Against that backdrop, HIV Scotland have been in the vanguard of raising public awareness, research and aligning public policy for the best part of a quarter of a century.

"But we learn this week that most of their government funding which they have enjoyed for 25 years will be taken away.

"Does the First Minister not regard HIV as a problem any more? If she does, will she instruct officials to revisit this decision immediately?"

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Ms Sturgeon said the presentation of the issue had been "slightly misleading" and an open round was held in 2017 for sexual health and blood-borne virus funding, the same as in the previous year.

She said: "A number of organisations applied for that funding, HIV Scotland was one of them and unfortunately they were not successful.

"The decisions were based on advice from an assessment panel which included independent members from NHS Highland, NHS Lothian and the third-sector organisation The Alliance."

She said HIV Scotland had been given four months of transitional funding and advice to try and ensure it had a "sustainable future".

She added: "If we had interfered in that funding round that I spoke about, that would have involved taking money away from organisations that had been successful in that open process."

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George Valiotis, chief executive of HIV Scotland said: "In order to develop a sustainable future, the organisation needs to rebuild a healthy team that has been lost due to redundancies, in order to return to deliver great work whilst supporting an ambitious fundraising strategy.

"We provided the government a proposal that will do that, enabling us to deliver on a sustainable future for the organisation, whilst working together to reach zero new transmissions in Scotland.

"That was rejected and we've been asked to come back with a smaller scale plan that could fall short of the minimum operating costs a small organisation like ours needs to be viable.

"In order to fundraise a sustainable, long-term future, whilst delivering on the high quality, award winning work we are recognised for, the organisation requires support from government that matches our previous arrangements."