Shona Robison MSP, Minister for Public Health, will officially open Gaycon, the only conference of its kind dedicated to the sexual health of gay men in Scotland on 20-21 October at the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh. Representatives from Terrence Higgins Trust will be joining the conference, which will identify key priorities for future sexual health work for gay men in Scotland at a time when this group continues to be disproportionately affected by HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Following the launch of the HIV Action Plan in February last year, Gaycon will feature a range of talks, workshops and interactive sessions on key issues including the rise in syphilis diagnoses, stigma and discrimination and HIV prosecutions. Keynote addresses will be given by Peter Tatchell, international human rights campaigner, Prof Paul Flowers of Glasgow Caledonian University and Yusef Azad of the National AIDS Trust.
Gaycon, which is free to attend, is developed and organised by a range of agencies from Scotland, including Gay Men’s Health, Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, HIV Scotland, Waverley Care and Health Protection Scotland. The conference is aimed at social workers, healthcare professionals and youth workers within the NHS, local authorities and the voluntary and private sectors.
Minister for Public Health and Sport Shona Robison said: “I am very happy to support this event. It is fantastic that different sectors and organisations are coming together to help improve the sexual health of gay and bisexual men.
“Scotland is leading the way in terms of an integrated approach to prevention, treatment and care of HIV, however, men who have sex with men are still at particular risk of infection.
“The Scottish Government are currently implementing our HIV Action Plan, which will ensure good quality treatment and care services for those living with HIV. The HIV Wake Up campaign, aims to promote awareness of HIV and encourage testing. We believe that 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.”
Catherine Murphy, Head of Parliamentary and Public Affairs for Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland said: “Gay men in Scotland continue to top the list when it comes to HIV and STI diagnoses, so it’s crucial that we look at the reasons why. We must improve gay men’s sexual health in Scotland – this conference will take a fresh look at how to do this.”
Steve O’Donnell, for Gay Men’s Health and Chair of Gaycon said: “Gaycon is the only conference of its kind in Scotland and will provide delegates with the opportunity to learn from current research and best practice in Scotland and beyond in the field of gay men’s sexual health and wellbeing.”
To attend the conference or for more information visit http://www.gaycon.org/ or contact Eloise Street by emailing Eloise@emr-events.com or telephone 07951 227905.