Visitors Czech out our work

We recently welcomed visitors from the Czech Republic to Waverley Care to talk to them about our work.

Johana and Michael were in Scotland as part of an initiative from Erasmus+, a European education initiative, and visited us because of their interest in HIV in their home country.

Both work for the Czech AIDS Help Society, an NGO that, much like Waverley Care, is focused on HIV prevention, education and support.

During the visit it was interesting to hear about the different challenges faced in the Czech Republic and how they compare to Scotland. For example, while there are signs that new infections in Scotland may be decreasing after a period of stability, new infections in the Czech Republic have almost trebled. In terms of treatment, around two thirds of people who have been diagnosed with HIV in the Czech Republic are accessing treatment compared with over 90% in Scotland.

There are, however, a number of similarities in the goals that each country is pursuing to tackle HIV. Both countries recognise the need to target prevention work at groups who are at increased risk of HIV (for example our work with African communities and gay and bisexual men), both have placed emphasis on ensuring people are diagnosed and access treatment early, and both recognise the need to challenge stigma and discrimination.

Given these similarities, our visitors had lots of questions about our work with service users. In particular, they were interested in the work of our gay and bisexual men’s project, SX, and the ongoing discussions in Scotland around the availability of PrEP.

It was great to welcome Johana and Michael to Waverley Care and we look forward to sharing ideas in future.