Scottish government launches campaign to change attitudes to HIV

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Public Health Minister Michael Matheson has launched a four-year plan to change the public’s attitude towards victims of HIV.

The Scottish government has produced a plan document called the Sexual Health and Blood Borne Viruses Framework which aims to tackle the increase in HIV cases by changing public attitudes “to enable a society and culture whereby the attitudes of individuals, the public, professionals and the media towards HIV are positive, non-stigmatising and supportive”.

The campaign intends to ensure a “positive” portrayal of sexual health and issues surrounding HIV in the media and also aims to determine the extent of “unduly negative, inaccurate or biased portrayal”.
 
The plan will be practiced by a wide range of Government departments, institutions and agencies, including education – being incorporated into the newly introduced Curriculum for Excellence.

Mr Matheson said: “Through working together, we can see a healthy and more inclusive Scotland, where sexual relationships are based on good communication and are free from harm, where life-affecting infection can be prevented, and where people living with blood borne viruses can live healthier, fulfilling lives, and where no one is stigmatised for their health status, their life choices or lifestyle.”

The SNP Government document says the enormous increase in HIV cases in Scotland over the last 10 years is mostly down to immigration from Sub-Saharan Africa and some Eastern European countries. 

The document speaks of recent research indicating HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns are being completely ignored by a large section of the gay community: 40% of men in Glasgow and Edinburgh gay bars admitted having unprotected sex during the previous 12 months.