Liam McArthur MSP commits to ending HIV related stigma in Scotland

Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, today joined with HIV Scotland to mark World AIDS Day in the Scottish Parliament this week, and celebrate the launch of the new book, Disclosures: Rewriting the Narrative About HIV.

Ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1, HIV Scotland along with people living with and affected by HIV came together to launch the stigma-busting book, that has a foreword written by Jackie Kay.

Mr McArthur said “Stigma is still a huge issue for people living with HIV in Scotland. It is one of the biggest barriers to testing, can stop people from accessing treatment and support. Often people fear telling family, friends and partners their status which can lead to isolation and mental health problems.

“By working together and taking a strong position on addressing stigma, inequality and social exclusion, we can make real different to the lives of people living with HIV. This book is a new tool to educate and inform people about the modern day realities of HIV, and I’m proud to support HIV Scotland’s work.”

Nathan Sparling, Interim Chief Executive of HIV Scotland said: “Scotland has all the right tools to reach zero new HIV infections. It’s fantastic to see MSPs supporting the launch of our new stigma-busting book that brings together people living with and affected by HIV to take part in creative activism to change the narrative of HIV in Scotland.”

Every year on the 1st December people across the globe mark World AIDS Day: the international day to remember the 35 million people who have died worldwide from AIDS related illnesses, to prevent new cases of HIV and to stand in solidarity with people living with the virus.


Notes to Editors

About Disclosures: Rewriting the Narrative About HIV

  • "We should never underestimate the power of stories to heal and to reveal, to shape and to make, to guide and change the tide," writes Jackie Kay, Scots Makar, in her foreword to Disclosures: Rewriting the Story About HIV, forthcoming from Stewed Rhubarb Press. "And we must never forget what it costs to share a story—the first steps are always brave ones."
  • This preconception-busting anthology, edited by Angie Spoto, collects together poetry, stories, artwork, and nonfiction which challenge the image of what it means to have HIV in Scotland today.
  • Much of the included work was nurtured by HIV Scotland's Positive Stories project, through which workshop leaders Colin Herd, Angie Spoto, Peter McCune and Katy Hasty helped participants to shape their experiences for print.
  • The diverse list of contributors is: RJ Arkhipov, Mark Carlisle, Kevin Crowe, Will Dalgleish, Stephen Duffy, J. William James, Matthew Lynch, James McAbraham, NJ Millar, Nobody, Michael Nugent, Oliver, Rio, Fraser Serle, Nathan Sparling, Angie Spoto and Jamie Stewart. The book features illustrations by Brian Houston.


About HIV in Scotland

  • There are 5213 people diagnosed as living with HIV in Scotland.
  • There were 368 new cases of HIV reported in 2017.  
  • 13% of people living with HIV in Scotland are unware of their status.
  • A person living with HIV, successfully on treatment, can achieve an undetectable level of HIV virus. This means not only they will be healthier, but will not pass the virus onto others.
  • PrEP is an HIV prevention measure where people who do not have HIV use medication to protect themselves from getting HIV. Scotland led the way by allowing PrEP on the NHS, expanding their prevention options and contributing to the global mission against HIV.

HIV Scotland

  • HIV Scotland is the national HIV policy organisation for Scotland. We exist on behalf of all those living with and at risk of HIV to ensure that Scotland has responsive policies, quality services and a supportive environment that enable people living with or at risk of HIV in Scotland to live health and fulfilling lives. HIV Scotland is a multi-award winning charity, recognised for our skill in bringing multiple partners together to achieve innovative and ambitious outcomes.

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