HIV Scotland have unveiled an ambitious plan to reach zero new HIV transmissions in Scotland by 2030.
The charity launched its new ZEROHIV plan today in Edinburgh, along with a new look and commitment to raise £300,000 per year to support its work.
A key success in the prevention of new transmissions has been the introduction of PrEP for men who have sex with men. The drug, taken daily as a single pill, can significantly reduce the risk of HIV transmission and was first offered in Scotland in July 2017. The uptake has proven to be more popular than anticipated, with almost 2,000 men being prescribed the new drug.
Nathan Sparling, Chief Executive of HIV Scotland said:
“Thanks to PrEP and other medical advances we are now at a point where every new HIV transmission in Scotland is preventable. However, as a charity, as a sector, and as a country, we must not be complacent about the progress we have made. Getting to zero is not inevitable, and we cannot view it as such.”
“HIV Scotland believes that this is the perfect time to reinvigorate the movement and ensure that complacency doesn’t take hold and stand in the way of progress. We’re making huge strides already – tackling discrimination, tackling stigma, encouraging innovative forms of prevention and bringing communities together and amplifying their voices – but we can always do more to ensure the sector and the country doesn’t rest of their laurels.”
The charity, which marks it’s 25th anniversary this year, has provided Government and the NHS with policy recommendations for two decades, based on its close work with people living with and at risk of HIV.
Now the organisation will move into a new phase to find “creative solutions to overcome sexual and drug related barriers to a healthier Scotland.”
The organisation have outlined a number of key steps to reaching their goal of zero new transmissions, including:
- Increasing access to the HIV Prevention toolkit
- Improving sex education resources for schools
- Encouraging Scotland’s cities to join the Fast-Track Cities initiative
- Creating a new advocacy group of older people living with HIV
- Launching a new bi-annual conference ‘Sex, Drugs & Scotland’s Health’
The new plan will be launched at a special event in Edinburgh tonight where participants will experience the effects of stigma first hand. You can read a copy here.
You can follow the work of the fresh, shiny, new-look HIV Scotland here.