Edinburgh-based health and wellbeing charity, Waverley Care, are to expand services across the country after receiving a funding boost from the Scottish Government.
The charity works with people who live with HIV and hepatitis C and will now roll-out their ‘SX’ service for gay and bisexual mean, and the African Health Project on a national basis.
The SX service currently works with the community in Lothian to reduce HIV transmission, promote good sexual health and encourage gay and bisexual men to access regular testing. They also tackle the health inequalities faced by men in issues such as mental health and drug and alcohol abuse.
Expanding the African Health Project, which has services in Lothian, Greater Glasgow, Forth Valley and Lanarkshire, the charity will now develop services which meet the needs of Africans living across Scotland, especially focussing on raising awareness of HIV and sexual health.
David Cameron, a Senior Manager at Waverley Care, said:
“Both of these projects are helping to reduce new HIV and hepatitis C infections and address the broader health and social inequalities faced by the populations they work with.”
“At the same time, the funding will allow us to develop our experience of using peer research to engage with, and better understand, the needs of people living with or at risk of HIV and hepatitis C. This work will not only help us to improve our own services but will provide vital feedback that can inform policy.”
“We look forward to working with communities, partner organisations, health boards and the Scottish Government to deliver the outcomes in the Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework.”
A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said:
“Waverley Care has been awarded around £210,000 per year to support three different national projects to provide support to men who have sex with men, to African communities and to deliver a national peer engagement and support service for populations at risk of poor sexual health or blood borne viruses.”
“We have also awarded funding to Scottish Drugs Forum, SACRO and Cancer Research UK to provide a range of other projects supporting or delivering services to groups affected or at risk.”
It’s not yet known what the impact will be on other providers in the sector, including HIV Scotland and Terence Higgins Trust Scotland.
The latest figures to 30th September 2017 indicate there were 256 new HIV-positive people in Scotland in 2017, with more than half the transmissions estimated to have originated outside the UK. The vast majority were in men (78%) and in the age group 25-44 years old (58%).
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