HIV is shrouded in myth and mystery. Many people in Scotland still believe that HIV can be transmitted via kissing, that HIV is a death sentence, that only the 'wrong' kind of people get HIV.

These misconceptions lead to HIV stigma. Stigma robs people of their voices, harms their mental health, and breeds fear that stops people from getting tested or treatment.

As a partner in the Fast-Track Cities initiative, we will work with local city leaders to develop plans for Scotland's cities to achieve zero HIV-related deaths and eliminate HIV stigma. Our ambition is to fast-track Scotland to reach #ZEROHIV by ensuring all seven cities are signed up for the Fast-Track Cities initiative. We will also use the power and accessibility of creative activism to engage the public. Building on the work of our book Disclosures, we will create an online space for people affected by HIV to share their stories. 

In Year 1, our Fast-Track Cities project and a focus on creative activism will:

  • Give young people better access to inclusive education about HIV and reduce HIV stigma.
  • Shape public attitudes and knowledge about HIV so that more people are aware of the realities of how to contract, be tested for, and live with HIV.
  • Ensure policies and practices in Scotland do not discriminate against people living with HIV.
  • Celebrate success and share learning with global partners.

Alongside these activities, HIV Scotland will be working to bust myths and fight stigma by:

  • Informing young people and students about sexual health, stigma, and HIV prevention and transmission.
  • Promoting reliable and relevant information on HIV testing and ageing with HIV.
  • Connecting with healthcare staff to ensure they are well-informed about HIV and stigmatising behaviours.
  • Working with the government to promote nonstigmatising legislation.
  • Engaging with the media to ensure they report on HIV accurately and without encouraging stigma.
  • Looking for creative ways to be sure the public is well-informed about HIV.

Myths are made to be busted. Let's get to work.