Cole-Hamilton: Appalling betrayal of HIV Scotland

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton has today demanded that the First Minister reinstate funding for HIV Scotland.

The call comes as it was revealed that the SNP Scottish Government has stripped the organisation of its core funding, a decision that HIV Scotland’s Chief Executive George Valiotis said left the organisation “critically short staffed” and with key programs “at risk”.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

"This funding cut is a body blow to an organisation with a phenomenal record of empowering people, fighting for better treatment and raising awareness of this condition.

“HIV in Scotland is growing, and there was a particular spike in Glasgow last year. We are still well adrift of WHO targets to identify 90% of carriers. The decision by the SNP government to discontinue core funding to HIV Scotland is not just myopic, it is downright dangerous.

“When I pressed the First Minister on this in Parliament all she would say is that transition funds had been provided to the charity. HIV Scotland themselves are warning that this is a short term stop-gap that will still see them shedding experienced staff and winding down valued programs to assist people with HIV and those most at risk.

“A shift towards focusing solely on treatment might free up resources in the short run but it risks causing enormous harm in the future.

“I will be continuing to press the Scottish Government to reconsider this appalling decision."

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