Fighting stigma is central to cutting HIV infections

P6 chief encounters hiv ribbons

A new action plan has been launched to help Scotland reach zero new HIV infections by fighting the stigma of disease

28th November 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

HIV stigma is one of the biggest barriers to people being tested and receiving treatment for the illness in Scotland.

That's why third sector groups, together with people living with or affected by the disease, have joined together to unveil a new action plan to tackle stigma ahead of World AIDS Day on Friday 1 December.

A total of 5,134 Scots are living with HIV, according to those behind the strategy.

The Anti-Stigma Strategy: Road Map to Zero sets out how organisations such as the National Aids Trust, the Terence Higgins Trust, HIV Scotland and others will continue to work with the Scottish Government and others to end HIV-related stigma.

As well as putting people off getting tested, it  is also believed that many people who are HIV positive do not inform family or friends, which can lead to problems of loneliness, anxiety and depression.

George Valiotis, chief executive of HIV Scotland, said: "Scotland has all the right tools to reach zero new HIV infections.

"To achieve this reality, we need a collaborative effort bringing people from a range of communities, organisations and sectors to address stigma."

Will Dalgleish, who has HIV and is chairman of the Lothian HIV Patient forum, said that more discussions are needed around the condition.

He said: "Stigma affects everyone living with and at risk of HIV, and that's not good enough.

"We need to normalise the discussions around HIV and talk about the facts.

"As individuals and as a society, we must not be bystanders to stigmatising views and prejudice."