1 December 2023
Today, on World AIDS day, SDF launches its revised e-learning resource ‘HIV: Preventable and Treatable’ and reminds workers in services and people at risk of HIV infection through drug use of what they can do to protect and support themselves and others. The revised e-learning contains updated data and resources to reflect the current picture of HIV in Scotland.
There are key messages for different people. Firstly, for people injecting drugs, it is important never to share any injecting equipment – that includes cookers and equipment used in preparing drugs.
It is also important to get tested. People who inject drugs should ask for a test regularly and anyone who has injected drugs in the past should get a test. Testing is crucial to prevent people becoming ill. When considering getting tested remember how simple and effective treatment is now. If people get treatment before the virus causes harm, they can lead long, healthy lives and achieve an undetectable viral load which means they cannot pass on the virus to other people. Treatment now involves taking oral medication once a day.
Kirsten Horsburgh CEO of Scottish Drugs Forum says “SDF has undertaken work promoting awareness of HIV prevention and treatment for many years. This is an area in which there has been progress but there is still much to do in terms of addressing the stigma associated with using drugs and an HIV diagnosis. HIV testing and treatment for people who inject drugs must be prioritised alongside other life-saving measures. It would be hard to argue in terms of long-term health outcomes that preventing, testing for and treating HIV should not be a key priority.”
HIV: Preventable and Treatable – SDF’s popular e-learning training
HIV: What workers need to know – SDF’s resource for service staff who are supporting people who are at risk of or have HIV