Funding news brings exciting new work

We’ve had some exciting news with the announcement of new funding to build on our work with people living with or affected by HIV or hepatitis C across Scotland.

Thanks to funding from the Scottish Government, we will now be taking forward plans to expand the work of our SX and African Health projects, along with increased work to engage with people living with, or at risk of HIV or hepatitis C.

The Scottish Government made funding available to deliver work across a range of issues covered by its Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework.

There are three areas of work where funding will allow us to develop the services we provide.

We’ll be building on the success of SX, our Lothian-based health and wellbeing project for gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men, by developing resources and support for men across the country. The project currently works with the local community in Lothian to reduce HIV transmission, promote good sexual health and encourage men to access regular testing. Alongside this, SX works to tackle the health inequalities faced by gay and bisexual men around issues such as mental health and drug and alcohol use. The funding will allow us to work with members of the community to develop this work across Scotland, promoting good physical, mental and sexual health.

Funding is also in place to continue to develop our African Health Project. Through the project, we work with local African community groups, businesses and faith groups to raise awareness of HIV and sexual health and to address the health and social needs of African communities. Currently, the project has specific services in Lothian, Greater Glasgow, Forth Valley and Lanarkshire, in addition to our national Health in Faith work. The funding will allow us to work in partnership with Africans across Scotland to design, deliver and manage tailored HIV and sexual health resources that addresses their specific needs.

The final project we’ve received funding for will broaden the reach of our peer-to-peer research. In recent years, we’ve conducted peer-to-peer research in relation to our My Voice FGM work, through SX and, more recently, through our African Health Project. Through the process, members of a community are trained to conduct interviews with their peers around a set of pre-defined topics, to help build a picture of how a community feels about a given issue. We plan to conduct this type of peer research with various communities affected by poor sexual health, HIV and hepatitis C to inform the development and delivery of our own work, and to share with partners at NHS and government level to inform policy. The project starts from the premise that populations most at risk of poor sexual health and BBVs have a unique insight into the challenges and barriers they face, and that they need to be involved in developing an effective response.

Following the announcement of funding, work is now underway to firm up our plans and to recruit new members of the team to take the work forward. We’re really excited to get started and look forward to working with communities, partner organisations, health boards and the Scottish Government.