Supporting Scotland’s African Communities
Waverley Care has a long history of working with people from African communities across Scotland, to improve their health and wellbeing.
What we do
We work with people in African communities across Scotland to help improve their health and wellbeing.
In particular, we work to raise awareness of HIV, focusing on getting people tested, and helping prevent new infections. If you are living with HIV, we can also provide a range of one-to-one and group support to help you in whatever ways you need.
Alongside HIV, we can support you with other issues that may be affecting you, such as housing, benefits and accessing specialist support with asylum and immigration issues.
You can find out more about the specific support that we offer in the sections below.
We’re also keen to work with local businesses, community groups, country associations and faith groups that serve people in African communities to find ways to improve health and wellbeing.
HIV is a virus that infects the body’s white blood cells and makes it harder for the body to fight everyday infections.
Although it can affect anyone, there are some populations in Scotland that are more affected by HIV than others – including people from African communities.
Although there is no cure for HIV, effective treatments are available on the NHS that can control HIV, stop you passing it on and let you live a healthy life.
There are a few different ways that HIV can be passed between people, and the most common ones are:
- During unprotected sex
- Through sharing injecting equipment
HIV can also be passed on from mother to baby during childbirth and breastfeeding, but this is now very rare thanks to testing and effective treatment for pregnant women.
Lots of common myths continue to circulate about HIV, particularly around how it is passed on, and what it means for your health. In particular, HIV CANNOT be passed on through:
- sharing common household items
- using the same bathroom
We offer community-based services and support for people living in Glasgow, Edinburgh, the Lothians, Forth Valley and Lanarkshire, alongside national research exploring the needs African communities across Scotland.
If you’re living with HIV, we’re here to help. We can provide information, advice and support to help you enjoy good health and wellbeing.
We can support you on a one-to-one basis, taking time to understand your needs, and working with you to find a way forward. All of our support is free and confidential, and we can meet you at times and places to suit you.
There are also opportunities for group and peer support, where you can meet and gain support from other people with similar experiences.
Although much of our work is focused on HIV prevention and support, we take a much broader view of health, including a range of issues that affect people from African communities in specific ways.
We can offer information and support around issues such as housing, benefits and welfare, and can also help you finding local services that can help you with issues like asylum and immigration.
If you would like to talk to us about how we can support you, you can call us on
Building on our relationships with African businesses and community groups, we’re always looking for opportunities to raise awareness around a range of health issues.
As we start to come out of Covid-19 restrictions, we’re looking forward to being able to hold stalls at local community events, where you can talk to one of the team with any questions about your health and wellbeing.
We do a lot of prevention work, trying to raise awareness of HIV in the community. However, we know that HIV is highly stigmatised, so we work closely with communities to introduce information in a way that builds trust and confidence.
We can work with local groups and organisations to run workshops, providing the facts about HIV, getting people talking about their sexual health, and giving people the chance to access community-based HIV testing. We’ve found that once people know the facts, they are far more willing to access testing.
Alongside HIV-specific prevention work, we also work to promote good sexual health. We can provide information, advice and support around a range of issues including:
- Accessing free condoms from local venues
- Information about PrEP – a daily pill that can protect people at high risk of HIV from infection
- Testing for sexually transmitted infections and HIV
- Talking to your partner about condom use and sex
- Support with reporting domestic abuse
If you’d like to talk to us about HIV prevention, or anything related to sexual health, please call us on
HIV is a condition that doesn’t always come with obvious symptoms, so the only way to know your status is to have a test.
Free and confidential HIV testing, treatment and care is available on the NHS for everyone in Scotland, including refugees and asylum seekers.
We know that testing can sometimes be a bit daunting, but it’s a really straightforward test with lots of benefits:
- Testing can give you peace of mind if you’re worried about HIV
- Knowing your HIV status lets you take control of your health, whether the result is positive or negative
- Knowing your HIV status means you can protect others
If your test comes back positive, there is no need to panic. Treatments are now available that can control HIV, stop you passing it on and let you live a healthy life.
We will also be there to provide support, helping you to understand more about HIV, manage your treatment, meet other people for peer support, and talk about HIV with your family and friends.
If you’re not sure whether you need an HIV test, the following points can help you decide.
You should consider having an HIV test if:
- you have never tested for HIV
- you have tested before, but since your last negative test you have had unprotected sex, shared injecting equipment or been in a country where medical equipment was not sterile or may have been used on more than one person
- you are in a committed relationship and are thinking of stopping using condoms
- you are pregnant
All pregnant women in Scotland are offered an HIV test as part of their routine antenatal care. It is important to know if you have HIV because you can then start treatment that can protect your baby from becoming infected.
We offer community-based testing for people living in the NHS Glasgow, Lothian, Forth Valley and Lanarkshire areas.
If you have questions about HIV testing, or are interested in finding out about testing options near you, you can call us on
To prevent HIV transmission to newborn babies through breastfeeding, official guidelines recommend that mothers living with the condition exclusively formula feed their babies.
We know that this is an expensive option that many new mums struggle to afford, so our NHS-funded infant formula project offers all African mothers living with HIV access to free formula milk for the first year of their baby’s life, along with equipment like bottles and sterilizers.
Alongside the practical support of the project, we can also help you around the social and emotional pressures linked to formula feeding, whether it’s:
- concerns about the impact of formula feeding on the health of your child, and your emotional bond with them
- concerns that not breastfeeding could unintentionally draw attention to your HIV status
HIV transmission from mother to child is now very rare in Scotland, and infant formula is just one part of this success. All expecting mothers are now offered HIV testing and treatment as part of their prenatal care, meaning that the risk of transmission is as little as 0.1%.
Thanks to these interventions, HIV is no longer a barrier to starting a family.
If you are living with HIV and are a new or expecting mum, you can get in touch with us to ask about the infant formula project.
You can also get in touch with any other questions you might have about HIV, pregnancy and starting a family on
Faith and religion continue to play a significant role in their lives of many people from African communities across Scotland, both in terms of spiritual belief, and community togetherness.
As African communities have grown, an increasing number of church congregations have been established specifically to serve them.
Within these faith communities, local pastors are important and respected figures, and we work with them to take conversations about HIV and sexual health to people.
By building relationships with individual pastors, we have been able to deliver a range of HIV awareness and testing workshops with congregations in churches – something that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago.
We work with pastors to raise awareness of the facts around sexual health and HIV, and to find ways to share that information in a way that is consistent with the teachings of their churches.
The approach takes information about HIV to where people are, making it as easy as possible for them to have the opportunity to find out more.
This work is contributing to challenging HIV stigma, encouraging people to know their HIV status, and ensuring that people living with the condition can access the support they need to live well.
If you are involved in an African church in Scotland, and are interested in learning more about our work, please get in touch on