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Outbreak of HIV Infection

That the Parliament notes that 1 December marks World AIDS Day; acknowledges that there is an ongoing outbreak of HIV infection in Glasgow in people among who inject drugs, with 105 new diagnoses identified as at October 2017, which is substantially greater than in the previous 20 years when the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area saw less than ten new HIV cases annually that related to injecting drugs; understands that preventative supply of injecting equipment, regular testing, early diagnosis, better access to drug treatment and early access to HIV treatment improves health and saves lives, as well as help further transmission, and is the only evidence-based means to contain further spread of this outbreak; believes that a very large proportion of the Glasgow group have a hepatitis C co-infection and notes that such co-infections can cause a rapid progression of liver disease; understands that HIV stigma affects populations in different ways and that, due to stigma, those who need care the most can often be those who are most uncared for and often lack advocates; believes that Network Rail’s recent enforced closure of the busiest sterile injection equipment supply facility in Scotland has led to a significant decrease in the number of clients accessing such equipment in Glasgow city centre, leading to increased risk of HIV among drug injectors; regrets the recent decision by the Lord Advocate not to grant a “prosecution waiver” policy for the proposed supervised injection facility in Glasgow; believes that this will further delay HIV prevention measures being put in place, and is concerned at what it sees as this evidence of an escalating public health crisis and the urgent necessity for partners to appropriately address the health and social care needs of a vulnerable, stigmatised and marginalised group of people.

Supported by: Patrick Harvie, Alex Cole-Hamilton, Mark Ruskell, Neil Findlay, Monica Lennon