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Tackling blood borne viruses and addressing stigma

Worldwide, 300 million people are unaware they have viral hepatitis.

Without finding the undiagnosed and linking them to care, people will continue to suffer, and lives will be lost.

Saturday 1st December is World AIDS day.

Health Protection Scotland estimates that 50,000 Scots have been infected with the hepatitis C virus. Approximately, one-third of them in stay in the Glasgow area.

There has been a sharp rise in the number of new cases of HIV in Glasgow’s drug injecting population. Last year there were 934 drug-related deaths in Scotland with that number predicted to rise.

Turning Point Scotland Glasgow Homelessness Service, in partnership with Waverly Care, is offering testing to anyone accessing their service and women accessing Turning Point Scotland 218.

Having a Blood Borne Virus is no longer a death sentence thanks to more widely available treatments.

The quality of life and treatment management for people living with HIV and Aids has greatly improved.

Hepatitis C can be cured.

Turning Point Scotland Glasgow Drugs Crisis Centre have been testing people for blood borne viruses since November 2016.

Service Manager Patricia Tracey said:

‘The GDCC have been offering BBV dry spot testing in-house for 2 years. Previously, Waverly Care carried out tests once every 3 weeks in the residential unit.  Now, however, we can offer testing 24 hours a day, 7 days per week to individuals at risk in needle exchange, one stop and residential services. Since July 2018 we offer a £5 incentive to encourage testing and as a result doubled the number of tests performed, now averaging 20 tests per month.

Turning Point Scotland is committed to helping eliminate Hepatitis C in Scotland and works towards ensuring individuals with HIV receive quick access to treatment and live healthy lives through challenging and addressing stigma. We are dedicated to delivering services around the needs of people at risk, making testing easy to access and supporting individuals to and access treatment. We also utilise innovative harm reduction interventions and learn from people we aim to support to understand what works for them.’

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