HIV is a major public health challenge for Scotland.
In recent years we have seen a substantial rise in the number of cases of HIV. While part of this rise can be attributed to an increase in testing, we know that there is also a true rise in the number of new transmissions in Scotland.
Respect and Responsibility, the national sexual health strategy, was published in 2005 in order to address sexual ill- health in Scotland. Whilst HIV is part of the strategy, there was a need to specifically re-focus and re-prioritise HIV.
The development of this HIV Action Plan signals a renewed focus on HIV and aims to reduce transmission and undiagnosed infection, to address the health needs of people living with HIV and to effectively coordinate services across the health, social care and voluntary sectors.
This plan promotes the importance of prevention as well as good quality treatment and care and builds on the proposals of the Treatment and Care Needs Assessment commissioned by the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland and developed by the Scottish Public Health Network (Scot PHN).
It is important to recognise that a substantial level of funding is already invested in HIV treatment and care, with a further £9.5 million available each year for the prevention of Blood Borne Viruses ( BBV) in Scotland. It is essential that this funding is spent appropriately and this Plan has been created in order to support NHS Boards to more effectively use their existing BBV funding.
The HIV Action Plan covers the period 2009 - 2014 and has been developed in partnership with stakeholders from the statutory and voluntary sector across Scotland. In making successful use of existing resources, expertise and experience I believe that together we can effectively address the challenges posed by HIV in Scotland.
Shona Robison MSP
Minister for Public Health and Sport