Positive Persons Forum

Positive Persons' Forum 2017

In July 2017, the fifth annual Positive Persons’ Forum (PPF) brought together people living with HIV from across Scotland to share their experiences, discuss challenges, and suggest solutions to the issues which impact their lives most. Attendance was made up of a diverse group of people representing different genders, sexualities, ages, and backgrounds in attendance.

This years’ Positive Persons’ Manifesto reflects the conversations that took place at the PPF and echoes the actions which were thought to have the required impact and affect necessary change within the identified priority areas.

These are exciting times in the field of HIV and there were presentations addressing the following key issues:

  • The recognition that people living with HIV who are on effective treatment with an undetectable viral load are now considered uninfectious (U=U)
  • That by getting people onto treatment earlier reduces community viral load, which further reducing onward transmission (treatment as prevention)
  • The recent licencing of Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in Scotland as an additional prevention methodology.

With these new developments we have a chance to significantly reduce transmissions in Scotland over the next few years.

Although there is cause for optimism, there are still some areas of significant concern:

  • Stigmatising attitudes towards people living with HIV is still a major problem (see HIV Stigma Index).
  • Too many people are still being diagnosed with HIV and too many are diagnosed late (approximately 40% in Scotland are diagnosed late), which can have a seriously detrimental impact on someone’s health and wellbeing. (A late diagnosis is defined as someone not previously diagnosed anywhere, and who has a CD4 count of less than 350 within 90 days of diagnosis, and who is found not to be a recent infection following avidity testing which can ascertain if someone has recently acquired HIV)
  • Vital support services are closing or under threat of closure and some people living with HIV prefer not to use nonspecific HIV services due to the risk of stigma and discrimination.
  • Poor physical and or mental health can prevent people living with HIV from working and there are genuine concerns about maintaining a reasonable standard of living from the benefits system.

Why you should be at next year's forum

The Forum brings people with HIV in Scotland together to set the agenda for change in Scotland on HIV issues. The day is a chance to hear about topics relevant to you, to meet and be inspired by other people living with HIV, and to unite your voices so they're heard right across the country by decision makers and service providers.

It's a free event for everyone living with HIV, and a fantastic way to share your views, experiences and priorities for what must change in Scotland to make sure the needs of people living with HIV are met. Hear from one of this year's steering group members on why it's such a valuable day.

More information

If you'd like to know more about the Positive Persons' Forum, or to apply to be a part of the steering group that organise the day, get in touch.