Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services has issued the following statement on the HIV Action Plan for Wales 2023-26.
I am pleased to publish our HIV Action Plan for Wales today, which will help to tackle stigma experienced by those living with HIV and reduce – and even eliminate – new infections.
The plan has been developed in partnership with the HIV Action Plan working group, which has a membership drawn from a diverse range of stakeholders, including from the community and voluntary sector, healthcare professionals, academics, and importantly, those living with HIV. I am very grateful to everyone who has helped to make this plan a reality.
In June 2022, we consulted on a draft HIV action plan. It was well received but the feedback highlighted some gaps and areas for improvement. The plan has been strengthened as a result of this process.
The plan contains five priority areas for action:
Living well with HIV
Tackling HIV-related stigma.
There are now 30 ambitious, but achievable, actions for implementation by 2026, which will go a long way to helping Wales achieve the World Health Organisation’s target of zero new HIV infections by 2030, and crucially, adopting a zero-tolerance approach to HIV-related stigma.
Last summer, I announced our commitment to fund and further develop the online STI testing platform, which has exceeded our expectations and made STI testing, including HIV testing, more accessible. This, in and of itself, helps to reduce stigma.
I am committing a further £600,000 to support other key actions in the plan, including the establishment of a case management system, which will help improve patient experience and ensure more accurate and timely surveillance of HIV testing and diagnoses. This also includes support to establish Fast Track Cymru support for a national peer support programme, and for HIV Testing Week in Wales.
In total, the plan is supported by a funding package of £4.5m.
An implementation oversight group will ensure the 30 actions are taken forward and achieved. I will report progress against the 30 actions annually to the Senedd.
We are at the beginning of an exciting journey, which can achieve real change. I firmly believe that by implementing this action plan, we can and will make a difference to those who are living with HIV today and we can all look forward with real hope that by 2030 there will be no new cases of HIV diagnosed in Wales.