Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Policy
The first Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework was published by the Scottish Government in 2011. The Framework brought together policy on sexual health and wellbeing, HIV and viral hepatitis for the first time. This original framework has now been updated with the Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework 2015-2020 Update . This update is not intended to present a significant change in direction, nor to replace the original Framework. As well as reporting on progress, this update seeks to reflect on experience over the last four years to refine main messages
The main national policy documents from the original framework are still relevant for HIV in Scotland. They are the Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework 2011-2015. and the HIV action plan in Scotland (December 2009 - March 2014)
The action plan aims "to reduce transmission and undiagnosed infection, to address the health needs of people living with HIV and to coordinate services across health and social care".
The framework set out five high-level outcomes which the Government wished to see delivered, and it sought to strengthen and improve the way in which the NHS, the Third Sector and Local Authorities supported and worked with individuals at risk of poor sexual health or blood borne viruses. These outcomes are:
High level outcomes of the framework
- Fewer newly acquired blood borne viruses and STIs; fewer unintended pregnancies;
- A reduction in the health inequalities gap in sexual health and blood borne viruses;
- People affected by blood borne virus(es) lead longer, healthier lives;
- Sexual relationships are free from coercion and harm;
- A society whereby the attitudes of individuals, the public, professionals and the media in Scotland towards sexual health and blood borne viruses are positive, non-stigmatising and supportive.
The framework is monitored by a series of indicators against each outcome. The executive leads committee is responsible for overall coordination of activity, supported by the national monitoring and assurance group which is responsible for measuring and monitoring these indicators. Funding is provided to NHS boards towards delivering the outcomes and will continue until the end of the Framework in 2020.
As these national policies draw to a close, we must review progress, identify where improvements are needed and bring stakeholders together to ensure that HIV is truly a priority for everyone.
Whilst health and social care services are fundamentally important, the new strategy must go beyond just health and social care; finding work, education and living in a community without prejudice are just as important to the health and wellbeing of people living with and at risk of HIV.
The new strategy must target key connections between sexual health and other policy areas such as employment, justice and education. It should harness the power of the whole public sector as well as the third sector, rather than focusing solely on the NHS. The development of a new strategy must also be accompanied by sustained funding and robust performance monitoring mechanisms, to ensure its effective implementation.
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