I am delighted to present the Scottish Government's new Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus (BBV) Action Plan. Scotland has made a huge amount of progress across these services since our first Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus (BBV) Framework was published in 2011 and refreshed in 2015. This framework brought together, for the first time, our policies on sexual health, hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV. Despite unprecedented challenges we have a lot to be proud of which is something to remember as we take the next steps towards achieving our long-term ambitions for Sexual Health and BBV services in Scotland.
Of course, as we plan, we must acknowledge that further challenges will lie ahead. Services across Scotland continue to feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the current cost of living crisis will exacerbate problems for many, particularly those who are at greater risk of poor outcomes, leading to increasing pressure on the NHS and wider public services. In tackling complex problems, we must all be open to embracing change and adopting innovative approaches as I believe are demonstrated in this Action Plan.
Although the Plan needs to focus on the ongoing recovery and provision of services, I am excited by its emphasis on promoting overall sexual wellbeing. I am confident that over the coming years we will make further progress towards a society which considers good sexual wellbeing to be an integral part of an individual's overall wellbeing and an indicator of health equity. Scotland has led the way on a number of issues across the sexual health and BBV sector in recent years, and this is another opportunity for us to lead by example.
I am enormously grateful for the time and commitment of all the stakeholders who took part in the development of this Action Plan. It is a mark of the dedication of the exceptional individuals who make up this sector that they took time to prioritise this work, while treating patients and maintaining the services that people in Scotland depend on.Their considerable efforts have resulted in an Action Plan that is designed to bring real practical change; reflecting the priorities and experiences of those who deliver and those who use services. Whilst this does not guarantee success, it provides us with the best possible way forward.
I look forward to working with the sector as we do that.
Ms Jenni Minto MSP
Minister for Public Health and Women's Health
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