HIV Scotland exists to ensure that all HIV relevant policy and practice in Scotland is grounded in evidence and in the experience of people living with and affected by HIV.
HIV Scotland’s distinctive role as an independent non-governmental organisation (NGO) is to:
- Advocate for people living with HIV, challenge stigma, and encourage engagement in planning and delivering equitable and quality services across Scotland.
- Focus on policy, capacity building and campaigning.
- Operate nationally, addressing policy and practice across Scotland and linking to national UK bodies.
- Unite the third sector by bringing agencies together in support of policy development, information sharing, and joint action.
- Deliver a strategic and professional contribution.
- Maintain an overview of HIV-relevant knowledge, research and effective interventions.
HIV Scotland maintains a number of priorities, including:
The Eradication of HIV-related Stigma and Discrimination
HIV related stigma and discrimination are the greatest barriers to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. HIV related stigma also impacts on the everyday aspects of people’s lives, whether it be fear of disclosing in a relationship or worrying about gossip. Eradicating HIV related stigma and discrimination is a priority for HIV Scotland and is an integral part of our work. We have assembled an anti-stigma consortium, bringing together community members, NHS, third sector and academics to develop a strategy for addressing stigma. We want an organised and unified approach to eliminating HIV related stigma and strive to achieve this through setting an action plan for Scotland identifying the key areas for change.
Access to Effective Treatment, Care and Support
Although HIV Scotland is not a service delivery organisation we still want to ensure that people living with HIV have access to high quality treatment, care and support services. One of the best ways to do this is through the meaningful involvement of service users in the design and delivery of services. HIV Scotland has been instrumental in the establishment of regional involvement groups in Highland, Fife and Lothian, and we are looking at working in new health board areas to initiate more involvement groups. Ultimately we want each health board area in Scotland to have an active involvement group. These regional involvement groups can provide patient or service user perspectives direct to service providers, and thus drive the development of improved services.
Effective HIV Prevention
As a nation, Scotland has failed to reduce HIV infection rates in any significant way in the last 10 years. It is estimated that a quarter of people living with HIV in Scotland are undiagnosed. Therefore, HIV prevention is a priority for HIV Scotland. We know that Improving rates of early diagnosis is critical for both individual and public health, and HIV testing is key to achieving this. Even with the introduction of self-test kits, the rate of HIV diagnoses remain steady. Recent clinical developments have made it clear that pre-exposure prophylaxis, PrEP, is highly effective at stopping HIV transmission. We have published a guide with key recommendations for PrEP in Scotland and continue to monitor the licensing progress for Truvada as PrEP. We will continue to work to ensure that Scotland has accessible and effective HIV prevention.
Uniting The Sector
Partnership working is central to the fulfillment of HIV Scotland’s purpose. Everyone has a role to play in reducing stigma and promoting good health and wellbeing. We draw on and contribute to the expertise and direct knowledge of a wide range of individuals, groups and organisations committed to improving the health and wellbeing of people in Scotland. We strive to increase our partnership base with both statutory and voluntary sector agencies, as well as community groups, faith communities, researchers and the media.
Find out more about working in partnership with us.
Scotland can claim a number of achievements in tackling HIV. HIV Scotland has played a key role in all of these developments, based on leadership, knowledge and experience, innovation and partnerships.