As over 300 cities committed to ending the HIV epidemic meet in London at the first ever Fast-Track Cities Conference, charity and political leaders have highlighted the need for action from the Home Office to help stem the tide of the ongoing outbreak in Glasgow.

Speaking at the UK Cities Pre-Conference event, Cllr Mhairi Hunter, the Chair of the Fast-Track Cities Leadership Board for Glasgow and City Convenor for Health in Glasgow City Council said:

“The evidence-based solution to deal with this ongoing outbreak would be a Safer Drug Consumption Facility. The barrier to that is the Home Office, and it’s unfortunate that the current political climate in the UK is not ideal for getting issues like this dealt with.

“The fact we are unable to set up a facility doesn’t mean we’re putting all our eggs in one basket – there is much going on to stem the outbreak – however the evidence is clear that this would help significantly. Glasgow stands ready to introduce a facility, and the Home Office must act.”

Grant Sugden, the Chief Executive of Waverley Care said:

“The ongoing work, such as our HIV Street Support Team, is vital to dealing with the outbreak, but the small team can’t be everywhere to support everyone.

“The Fast-Track Cities initiative is really helpful in shining a light on what has been successful, but also where we need to do more work. Integrated health services for people in these communities is vital, and it’s clear we need to listen to the evidence on Safer Drug Consumption Facilities.”

Nathan Sparling, the Chief Executive of HIV Scotland and national lead for Fast-Track Cities in Scotland, commented:

“It is unforgivable that the Home Office have failed to listen to the experts on this issue. It’s clear, given the evidence, they need to act to allow for a Safer Drug Consumption Facility in Glasgow to help with the current and ongoing outbreak of HIV among people who inject drugs.”