Sexual health charities the Terrence Higgins Trust, the National AIDS Trust and HIV Scotland have joined together to ask the next Government to introduce four key measures that can help improve the lives of people living with HIV and can help turn the tide against the HIV epidemic.

They are calling on the next UK Government to commit to:

  • Retain the protections set out in the Human Rights Act, which acts as a safeguard to ensure people living with HIV can live a meaningful, safe and fulfilled life.
  • Introduce compulsory Sex and Relationships Education for all schools, which is inclusive of young people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and has appropriate sexual health and HIV content – in the first session of the new Parliament.
  • Make HIV prevention a national public health priority, with effective funding, more varied testing options and access to the full range of prevention information and choices for all who need them.
  • End HIV stigma in the NHS and social care through the training of all NHS and care staff.
  • Ensure that people affected by HIV-related sickness or disability have the support they need by committing to the Disability Benefits Consortium’s Five Things You And Your Party Can Do For Disabled People.

Dr Rosemary Gillespie, chief executive at Terrence Higgins Trust said: ‘With more than 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK, we are determined to make sure their voices are heard loud and clear as election day approaches on 7 May. By acting on these key issues the next Government could dramatically reduce both HIV transmission, and the stigma and discrimination that so many of those with HIV face. No one can afford to be complacent. We urge voters to challenge candidates on these areas before the election, and hold them to account after they have been elected.’

George Valiotis, chief executive of HIV Scotland, said: ‘The responsibility for many of the decisions that affect HIV are devolved in Scotland – sex and relationships education, HIV prevention and the training of NHS and care staff. Despite this, the new UK Government has a key role to play north of the border. Chiefly retaining a commitment to the Human Rights Act and ensuring dependable, fair access to welfare support for those who need it.’

Meanwhile, UK Trans Info has reported that some 10 per cent of prospective Parliamentary candidates have signed their pledge to support transgender rights, as reported in So So Gay just five days ago.