As part of the partnership approach, Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland has produced a guide, Positive Steps, that is targeted at those whose work may bring them into contact with people living with HIV, but who may not know much about the condition, or who feel their knowledge could use a refresher. This might include GP practice nurses, social or care workers, NHS admin staff, or those working in local authorities. Research shows that as much as a quarter of all HIV-related discrimination occurs when people with the condition use health and social services outside their specialist HIV services.
From September, 2,500 guides will be distributed free of charge across Scotland. Each guide contains information sheets on different aspects of the condition, from how it is first diagnosed, through to treatment, relationships, disclosure, and growing older with HIV. It also contains direct quotes from a number of people living with HIV in Scotland, who recount their personal experiences of each topic.
Alison Lord, Centre Manager for Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland, said: “The experience of someone diagnosed with HIV today is very different from what it was in the 1980s. Effective drug treatments mean someone with HIV can live a long, healthy life, have fulfilling relationships, even start a family. But for all their prospects have improved immeasurably, the stigma that persists around the condition is, for many, the worst part of living with HIV.
“People with HIV don’t need to be treated with kid gloves when using services, but they do expect to be treated sensibly and sensitively. We would urge anyone working in the relevant fields to get hold of a copy of our new guide and make sure their knowledge of the condition hasn’t fallen out of date.”
Positive Steps has been created as part of Positive Scotland, a joint programme funded by the Big Lottery Fund and delivered by Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland and Waverley Care. Positive Scotland offers support to people who are HIV and/or Hepatitis C positive and their friends, family members and partners.
For further information, or to receive a copy of Positive Steps, please contact Carina Ebdy on 07789 408209 or Caroline Cameron on (0141) 332 3838.