February 7th 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in the United States of America, and HIV Scotland and The Hwupenyu Project have united to recognise this as an important opportunity to raise awareness of HIV prevention, testing and treatment among people of colour in Scotland.  

The Hwupenyu Project provides holistic support to black and ethnic minority communities across Scotland to reduce health inequalities, including support to reduce HIV transmissions and support people living with HIV to live a healthy and happy life.  

The 2011 Census recorded that 29,000 people identified as African, African British or African Scottish, and 2.6% of them were reported as receiving HIV treatment or care.  

In a 2014 report about HIV & Black African Communities in Scotland, NAT (National AIDS Trust) reported low-confidence in talking about safer sex with sexual partners, with 33% saying they did not feel in control around acquiring HIV.  

Hosanna Bankhead, Chief Executive of the Hwupenyu Project, said: “The theme of this year’s Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is “We’re in This Together” - but for many black and minority ethnic communities it remains the fact that we feel isolated and excluded from many services. If we are to reach the global goals of zero new HIV transmissions, we need to make sure that everyone has the right access to services and support.  

“The intersectional stigma faced by black people living with HIV means that many of our needs are unmet. Hwupenyu supports people to take control of their sexual and mental health, and there is a clear need to do more to support our black communities across the country.”  

Nathan Sparling, Chief Executive of HIV Scotland, said: “It’s important that we recognise the unique nature of HIV when it comes to Scotland’s black & ethnic minority communities. As the figures show, many people drop out of services because they simply do not meet their needs. Recognising Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day would be a symbolic step forward in addressing these concerns.” 

 

PARLIAMENTARY MOTION SUBMITTED BY PATRICK HARVIE MSP 

That this Parliament notes that February 7th is recognised as Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in the United States of America; notes that at the last census in 2011, Scotland’s Black population stood at 29,000, with 2.58% of them receiving HIV treatment or care; believes that Scotland’s Black population have unique needs and are disproportionately at risk of HIV; commends the work of the Hwupenyu Project in working with this often very-marginalised community; and calls on the Scottish Government to officially recognise Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.