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Consultation opens on Welsh Government’s new HIV strategy

14 Jun 2022 2 minute read
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). Photo by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Welsh Government has published details of a new strategy which aims to eliminate HIV infections in Wales.

The draft 2023-26 plan ,created by the government’s HIV action plan working group, also seeks to improve the quality of life those infected with the virus end the stigma surrounding the disease.

A 12-week consultation period has now opened for people and organisations to comment on the plan, which sets out the government’s future approach to prevention, testing, clinical care, living well with HIV and tackling HIV-related stigma.

Immune system

HIV damages cells in the immune system and weakens the ability of those with the virus to fight everyday infections and disease.

Between 2015 and 2021, Wales saw a 75 per cent reduction in new diagnoses of HIV largely due to the use of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), oral medication which is taken daily and can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout the body.

The government committed to provide PrEP to anyone in Wales who was in clinical need from the summer of 2017.

In 2021 there were 48 people newly diagnosed with HIV infection in Wales and approximately 2,800 people accessed care for the virus.

Dark days

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “We have come a long way since the dark days of the 1980s – which were so memorably depicted last year in Channel 4’s ‘It’s a Sin’ – when ignorance and cruelty towards people with HIV was rife.

“There is no place for ignorance or intolerance in modern Wales and this plan sets out actions to tackle this.

“Working with partners, we have made huge progress in improving access to testing and treatment in Wales and we’re proud of the significant reduction in new diagnoses of HIV.

“There is more to be done and by implementing these actions, we can make a massive difference to the lives of people living with HIV and in protecting current and future generations from the virus.

“I encourage anyone living with or with experience of working with people with HIV to take part in our consultation.”

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