About HIV Scotland
Since our formation in 1994, we have achieved a great deal. One historic breakthrough came in 2017 thanks to our campaign, when Scotland became the first UK nation to provide PrEP on the NHS; a drug proven to prevent HIV transmission.
What We Do
We work for and on behalf of people living with and at risk of HIV. Amongst many other things, we provide legal advice or advocate access to treatment or support services. We also carry out research to ensure that policy makers are aware of up-to-date evidence so that policies services and practice can reflect the needs of these people. We run events t improve public awareness and knowledge around HIV and we campaign publicly to modernise people’s understanding to end stigma and discrimination. Our priorities and work are shaped by people living with HIV so we host an Advisory Network meeting every couple of months to ensure our work and policies align with and meet the needs of people living with HIV – nothing about us without us!
We are now pushing forward our groundbreaking #ZEROHIV campaign to achieve zero new HIV transmissions, zero new HIV-related deaths and zero HIV- related stigma & discrimination in Scotland by 2030. Our work doesn’t just help people get by; it helps them thrive.
The Fit for the Future Initiative
In 2018, HIV Scotland undertook a survey of 2,806 young people in Scotland which revealed that many young people are leaving school with inadequate and inaccurate sexual health information. The vast majority of students expressed a need for more contemporary & comprehensive sexual health messages, whilst teachers pointed out that sex education lesson plans & resources were outdated & not readily available.
The survey illustrated that a whole generation of young people are growing up misinformed about HIV, sexually transmitted infections, & sexual health in general. To reduce future transmissions & to provide young people with the right information to remain healthy, we are co-developing a project with young people to create national sexual health resources which can be incorporated into sexual health lesson plans. This will include a series of short online films written & created by young people for young people.
Our project will train young people to create video content which can be used for sex education lesson plans. This will include information around HIV & other bloodborne viruses/STIs to prevent transmission & to enable young people to have happy, safe, well-informed & healthy relationships. This will empower young people to educate their peers & make a difference in their country & across Scotland as the resources will be freely available & rolled out across the country. This will make sex education more accessible & relevant to young people as it will be up-to-date, informative & made from a young person’s perspective.
Dylan Morris, HIV Scotland’s Policy and Public Affairs Officer leading on this project, said: “Our research into the education of Scotland’s young people and their readiness for the adult world has given us a clear route forward in terms of improving their knowledge. Our ongoing work regarding sex education will make a huge difference at an individual level, but also at a societal one as we work towards zero HIV-related stigma in the next decade.”
Kevin Rowe, HIV Scotland’s Fundraising Manager, said: “For a small charity undertaking national work, such a generous grant from the MAD Trust means we can physically deliver this initiative to help young people better understand the reality of HIV today & take an important step towards ultimately reaching zero HIV in Scotland by 2030. Thank you.”