Some of our achievements in 2021
Throughout Scotland we are working with hundreds of people living with HIV and hepatitis C and helping promote good sexual health.
Telling the Story of HIV in Scotland
This year, we launched a two-year project to chart and share the history of HIV and AIDS in Scotland. The project will look back to the earliest stages of the HIV outbreak in the 1980s, through the fear, stigma and heartbreak that followed, and on to the emergence of effective treatments, U=U and PrEP that have shifted the focus onto living well with HIV. We have secured funding to pay two people with lived of experience of HIV to lead on the project as part of a new community history group. We are looking forward to the outcome of the project.
Glasgow HIV Street Team are still out on the streets every week
As they have been throughout the pandemic, our colleagues in the HIV Street Support team have continued to go out into Glasgow city centre every week to provide support to people living on the streets who have contracted HIV in recent years. They are also talking to people who might be at risk of the HIV breakout, encouraging safe injecting practices. This work will be the focus of our new summer appeal due to be launched next month.
Trans research is making an impact
We have been meeting with health professionals and MSPs to share learning from the research we carried out in partnership with the Scottish Trans Alliance exploring trans and non-binary peoples’ access to sexual health services in Scotland. The message has spread far and wide in the NHS. We are currently securing funding for the future of this research and are hopeful this could lead to further work and progress for trans and non-binary sexual healthcare.
Providing training to the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service
Our staff partnered with the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service to deliver training to staff regarding the health and well-being of gay and bisexual men ahead of the changes to donation rules which will see gay and bi men have improved access to donation services. One attendee said “I am very impressed by the work you carry out and the difference you are making in our community. I hope our team will feel more at ease having open, honest, non-judgmental conversations. I hope all young people get this training; I wish I had.”
We’re taking Action for Happiness
In March this year, Waverley Care began offering the Action for Happiness program to people living with a blood borne virus across Scotland. The private group aims to support happier living by encouraging taking positive action in your life around ten key areas, for example giving, exercising, appreciating, resilience and acceptance. The group has met only three times so far but the attendees are a diverse group of people from all backgrounds and parts of Scotland who have bonded over the positive action they are taking.
Chinese Health Project expands into Glasgow
Our Chinese Health Project has been running in Lanarkshire since 2017, and during that time we’ve been able to raise awareness of hepatitis B, offer testing and referrals into treatment and care, and engage volunteer health ambassadors to spread messages about healthy living through the local Chinese community. We are extending this project to cover Glasgow from the beginning of June, meaning a much larger community can now benefit from our service with more people able to find out whether they are living with hepatitis B and access support in their own language if needed.
Waverley Care challenge for new Scottish Parliament
Following a new intake of MSPs taking their seats in Holyrood, we have called for strong action from elected representatives on HIV, hepatitis C and sexual health. In letters to the new Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf MSP, and Public Health Minister, Maree Todd MSP, we have outlined five priorities for the coming Parliament:
- A dedicated Action Plan to get Scotland to Zero new HIV infections by 2030
- The expansion of the hugely successful PrEP programme in Scotland
- Tackling the HIV outbreak in Glasgow, and the wider issue of drug related deaths
- A renewed commitment to eliminating hepatitis C by 2024
- Improving sexual health education for all
Still there for all the individuals we support across Scotland
When social distancing temporarily stopped our face-to-face work, we kept in touch with individuals living with HIV and hepatitis C by phone, text and email. In 2021 we have continued to support people living in the cities and in rural parts of the country. Young people and older people. People who have friends and family around them, as well as people who are living alone. Many of the people we support individually have other health conditions and have been isolated throughout the pandemic. In these challenging times, a regular phone call can mean a lot.
As you can see, the team at Waverley Care has been working hard to continue to be there for people living with HIV and hepatitis C throughout this pandemic. The difficult times are not over yet but with your support we know we can achieve more.
If you have any questions regarding any aspect of our work or how to get involved, please do not hesitate to get in touch.