SNP MSP for Cunninghame South, Ruth Maguire, has backed calls to encourage people to get tested during Scotland’s HIV/Hepatitis Testing Week 2017, which runs from 11th-17th September.
Since being elected as an MSP, Ruth has consistently promoted the importance of HIV testing and support for those living with the infection: lodging a parliamentary motion to mark HIV Testing Week in 2016 and meeting with Scotland’s national HIV and Hepatitis C charity, Waverley Care.
The key theme of the campaign in 2017 is #KnowYourRisk – raising awareness of the different ways that the infections can be passed on, and helping people to consider whether they should access testing.
In addition to this primary aim, the Scottish campaign builds on the European Testing Week message of Test, Treat, Prevent, with the following key messages:
- Find the test that’s right for you
- Gay and bisexual men having regular sex should get tested every 3 months
- If you have ever injected drugs (including performance or image enhancing drugs) you may have been at risk of hepatitis C
- Once you know about an infection, treatment means you can do something about it
- Today in Scotland a person living with HIV can live a long, healthy life, hepatitis C can be cured, and effective treatments are also available for a whole range of STIs.
- Staying on top of your sexual health means you can be confident about sex
- Condoms and lube can protect you from the majority of sexually transmitted infections and PrEP is now available to people at greatest risk of HIV
- If you are injecting drugs, it’s important to use a new set of equipment each time you inject
Commenting, Ruth said:
“Everyone in Scotland has an HIV status, and increasing awareness of, and access to, HIV testing plays a key role in reducing future HIV infections and putting people in control of their status.
I would encourage everyone to take advantage of HIV testing week and find out their status.
It is also important that we continue to work towards ending HIV-related stigma to ensure that more people get tested and that people living with HIV can be better supported to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.”
You can find out more at www.KnowYourRisk.scot.