Getting to Zero by 2030
Today, the Scottish Government has thrown its support behind making Scotland one of the first countries in the world to end all HIV transmission.
Speaking on World AIDS Day, the Public Health Minister, Joe FitzPatrick MSP said that the 'goal of eliminating HIV transmission is now in sight', and announced that the Government has now commissioned plans to achieve this.
This work will be taken forward by the Scottish Health Protection Network, bringing together clinical, public health, academic, and charity partners, including Waverley Care.
Last year in Scotland, there were 326 people diagnosed with HIV in Scotland. Of these. as many as three in 10 people were diagnosed late, meaning that HIV may have already been affecting their general health. There are now over 6,100 people in Scotland living with HIV, with an estimated 500 who are undiagnosed.
Although the majority of new diagnoses of HIV in Scotland are linked to sexual transmission, there continue to be concerns around transmission through shared injecting equipment. Scotland is currently experiencing a local outbreak in Glasgow linked to people who inject drugs. This population is affected by wide ranging inequalities around poverty, homelessness and addiction, and Waverley Care is continuing to provide outreach support.
The Scottish Health Protection Network will now be tasked with delivering proposals to Government, outlining steps to eliminate new HIV infections in Scotland.
During his announcement, the Minister also highlighted other measures to support recovery and renewal of HIV prevention services in the wake of Covid-19 restrictions. This included widening access to PrEP, free condom provision, reducing the sharing of injecting equipment and increasing testing capacity.
Speaking following today's announcement, our Chief Executive, Grant Sugden said:
"We’re entering a defining decade in the fight against HIV, and this announcement demonstrates a commitment to ensure Scotland leads the way.
"With well-established treatments and advances in prevention we’re in a great position to really aim for zero new HIV infections by 2030.
"The single biggest barrier to achieving this is stigma. The devastating impact of HIV in the ‘80s and early ‘90s continue to influence perceptions of the condition to this day.
"If we want to change that story, education is key. If we can do that, we can get more people into testing and treatment, and begin to repair the damage stigma has caused for people living with HIV.
"We’re delighted to support the Minister’s announcement and look forward to working with partners as part of the Scottish Health Protection Network to make the elimination of HIV transmission in Scotland a reality."