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Ministers mark World AIDS Day, 02/12/02 [S]

The problem of AIDS and HIV in Scotland is a shadow of the problem the world - especially Africa, Asia and parts of Eastern Europe - faces, said Scottish Ministers at World Aids Day.

Nevertheless, more people are living with HIV in Scotland than ever before. Trends in marker infections for high-risk sexual behaviour and drugs misuse - the two principal routes for HIV infection - are moving upwards. Syphilis, gonorrhoea and hepatitis C infections are increasingly seen in Scotland.

First Minister Jack McConnell said:

""I know that many individuals and groups across Scotland are supporting AIDS charities and projects, and using World AIDS Day to build on their ongoing activities. I commend their work.

""Through our concern, our voluntary organisations and personal giving, through research, treatments and skilled expertise which Scotland can offer, and through international collaboration, we can contribute to the challenge which HIV and AIDS presents.

""The sheer scale and seriousness of the world-wide AIDS problem really struck me when I visited a primary school this year in South Africa. Young people there live in the constant shadow of the disease and they have drawn murals on the schools walls to teach fellow pupils about the dangers.

""We can all contribute to World AIDS Day by responsible personal behaviour, and supporting people who are infected with HIV wherever they are in the world, using skills and means at our disposal. In the end, AIDS affects us all.""

Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm said:

""It is now about 20 years since HIV started to spread in Scotland. Indeed in my constituency, we witnessed a landmark outbreak of HIV among intravenous drug injectors which provoked decisive action.

""The HIV and AIDS story has developed since then into a world epidemic which threatens the entire fabric of many African and Asian nations and societies.

""I share the First Ministers view that we can all contribute something worthwhile to the challenge which HIV and AIDS presents, through our concern, our support for voluntary organisations and personal giving, through research, treatments and skilled expertise, and through international collaboration.

""In Scotland I am concerned that, while successful prevention and good treatment has blunted the effects of HIV, every year brings an increase in the number of new HIV infected people diagnosed in Scotland.

""Recently we have also seen a resurgence in other infections which are the consequence of high-risk sexual activity or intravenous drug misuse, and a marked trend in travellers returning infected from abroad. This year sees a continuing rise in cases of gonorrhoea, syphilis and hepatitis C in Scotland, a trend which suggests we could see a surge in other infections, including HIV, in the future.

""Currently we are developing a sexual health strategy for Scotland, building on innovative work at local level, and aiming to tackle sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted teenage pregnancies and to place sexual health within caring relationships. We have a broad based and developing drugs misuse strategy to tackle unsafe injecting.

""The messages are clear. Responsible personal behaviour is one important way to support World AIDS Day - all year round"".

News Release: SENW096/2002

Further Information

  1. World Aids Day