HIV Scotland in Parliament - September 2017

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Thursday 21st September 2017

Cross Party Group on Sexual Health & Blood Borne Viruses

The Cross Party Group continues to be an important part of our Parliamentary Engagement work, bringing together representatives from across the Third Sector, as well as people living with and at risk of HIV. Our September meeting, titled Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Stigma was chaired by Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP.

We were delighted to be joined by Dr Nicola Boydell who presented early findings from the SMMASH2 study on Stigma among men who have sex with men in Scotland, on behalf of Dr Jamie Frankis from Glasgow Caledonian University. HIV Scotland’s Kelsey Smith outlined the work of the HIV Stigma Consortium who are developing a national Anti-Stigma Strategy to be published later in the year, and Hosanna Bankhead from the Hwupenyu Project spoke about how HIV related stigma is a huge barrier in the full recovery for people living with HIV.

The CPG continues to grow with both representatives from in and outside of Parliament. It is a great opportunity to lobby for meaningful change directly with MSPs and Government Ministers. If you’d like to join the CPG, or to find out more, please email Nathan Sparling

The next meeting will be chaired by Kezia Dugdale MSP and held on Wednesday 6th December from 1pm to 2.30pm

Motions and questions

We are pleased to have support from MSPs on our recent report HIV and Education:Guaranteeing Lessons for All.

Jenny Gilruth MSP and Ross Greer MSPs have both submitted motions in support of the report highlighting the importance of the issue.

Both motions have received cross party support but please do encourage your MSP to sign up in support of our work in HIV and Education.

Annie Wells MSP has also submitted a written question asking the Government to respond to the points made in the report that there are inconsistencies across Scotland in how HIV and sexual health are taught in school.

The question is expected to be answered by the Government in late October. We will provide an update in our next issue of HIV Scotland in parliament.

HIV and formula milk has also been raised as a written question by Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP asking what plans the Government has to extend funding for the provision of formula milk to mothers with HIV. We expect an answer from the Government late October.

MSPs support Scottish Testing Week

Marking the first Scottish sexual health and blood borne virus testing week a motion was been tabled in the Scottish Parliament by Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP. The motion noted that more people in Scotland than ever before are living with HIV, with one in seven estimated to be unaware that they have the virus, and that 40% of people with hepatitis C are believed to be undiagnosed and that the primary aim of the week is to encourage people who believe that they might be at risk of HIV, hepatitis C or an STI to access testing.

TestWeekScot support from MSPs