A week ago, the National Aids Trust (NAT) published a briefing on the HIV outbreak in Glasgow. I was shocked and saddened when I first saw the figures of the HIV outbreak in Glasgow. (I thought it was bad enough in Birmingham, with around 20 cases in the last 18 months). If the high toll of Drug Related Deaths was not enough, HIV is rearing its ugly head, again. I really thought we buried that one years ago.
What has happened to the hard work that started 30 years ago to protect People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) on our UK shores?
There was a reason for that hard work. I really can’t believe this has happened, in 2018. Some “old timers” Scottish Harm Reduction activists must be as sad as I am writing this. You couldn’t blame them for feeling angry too. Why would the busiest Needle and Syringe Programme (NSP) in the City Centre be closed down? It served the most vulnerable people with the highest infection rate.
However, shouldn’t we be mostly concerned with the health and well-being of our most vulnerable? And not making it hard for people to access injecting equipment, treatment, benefits and decent housing? It’s always a good start to have an adequate OST, a decent roof to be proud of over your head and some spare cash, however small. Even better if you can get there without HIV, ulcerated legs and a decompensated liver.
The NNEF fully supports NAT’s briefing and recommendations.