HIV cases soar in Scotland but drop in England

Hiv test

Injecting drug users in Glasgow are bearing the brunt of the outbreak 

1st October 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

HIV cases have soared in Scotland despite plummeting in England.

Newly diagnosed cases rose by 16% from 2016-2017 in Scotland against a fall of 17% in the UK as a whole.

Glasgow is bearing the brunt of the outbreak with injecting drug users most likely to contract the disease.

Cuts to addiction services as well as a general lack of support has been blamed for the rise in addicts sharing needles and refusing treatment for their drug dependency.

A Glasgow needle exchange that had provided 40,000 sets of clean injecting equipment closed in 2016.

David Liddell, chief executive of the Scottish Drugs Forum, said: “This apparent divergence is a matter of some concern and should be investigated. We have an ongoing uncontrolled outbreak of HIV in people who inject drugs in Glasgow and the west of Scotland.”

The lifetime cost of treating those diagnosed with HIV will be almost £30 million according to estimates from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. It backs plans to open a heroin injection centre but the Home Office has refused to grant permission. as drugs legislation remains reserved to Westminster.

Yusef Azad, director of strategy for the National Aids Trust, said: “In Glasgow the outbreak that was first detected amongst people who inject drugs in 2015 is showing no signs of slowing. Work is ongoing to support those diagnosed but there are barriers to getting the outbreak under control.

“We are advocating for the opening of a drug consumption room, as all evidence points to their effectiveness in reducing needle sharing and drug-related deaths, but this has been blocked by Westminster.”