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The fight against HIV
Scotland's plan to tackle the spread of HIV was unveiled today by Minister for Public Health and Sport Shona Robison.
The HIV Action Plan aims to reduce the number of transmissions taking place in Scotland through increased prevention, increasing early diagnosis and improving the treatment and care of those living with the virus.
Issues the plan will address include:
- Improved co-ordination of HIV services, standards and guidelines
- Improved planning of HIV services and reducing the cost of antiretroviral therapy by establishing national procurement for ART
- Improved access to specialist HIV care
- Improving HIV transmission and risk behaviour surveillance
- Preventing HIV transmission
- Improving education and HIV awareness raising using social marketing
- Refocusing existing HIV resource within BBV prevention budgets
- Improving national and regional/local co-ordination
Ms Robison said:
"Scotland is leading the way in terms of an integrated approach to HIV prevention, treatment and care. Effective links between these areas are crucial in the management of HIV and improving the quality of life for those Scot's living with the virus.
"Improving access to, and the provision of, diagnostic and treatment and care services can contribute to a reduction in the transmission of HIV and a longer survival time for those living with the illness.
"In Scotland treatment and care services for people living with HIV in Scotland are generally of a very high standard but some inconsistencies do exist across NHS boards.
"This action plan will ensure the co-ordination and pursuit of best practice in prevention and models of care across Scotland which should, in turn, reduce cases and improve lives."
Roy Kilpatrick, Chief Executive, HIV Scotland said:
"This Action Plan brings together the increasingly complex need for prevention of new HIV infections with the imperative that the growing numbers of people on treatment get the very best care wherever they live and whatever their background.
"We welcome the recognition within the Plan of the need to work collaboratively across sectors. It is pleasing to see that the Plan deliberately sets ambitious goals for the next five years that involve charities, government, health experts and individuals in intensifying our efforts and scaling up the work."
More people are living with HIV in Scotland than ever before and by 2012, the number of people living with HIV and requiring specialist care is expected to increase by 5-13 percent. This rise does in part reflect an increase in testing, leading to earlier diagnosis, however it also reflects a true rise of transmission.
The action plan's aims are to:
- Improve the effective co-ordination of prevention and treatment and care activities across health, social care and voluntary sectors
- Reduce levels of HIV transmission and undiagnosed HIV
- Develop appropriate accountability and reporting arrangements together with increased opportunities to evaluate and research practice