FTC Update #1

Fast Track Cardiff & Vale is a cross-sector collaboration to support better local working on HIV, aiming to end new transmissions by 2030 and tackle social stigma.

This is the first of our online updates that will mirror the stakeholder email we send to individuals and organisations who have shown an interest in our work in the past – coming to our launch, working or corresponding with us on shared issues.

In this update we will discuss all of the work we have been doing despite the lockdown and where we are heading.

Our Steering committee embracing the video conference way of life.

Our Steering Group continues to meet regularly by Zoom. Working with Cardiff University, we have moved our community consultation online and a survey has just been released for Cardiff & Vale residents and those who use HIV/STI services in the area. It is available here and is being promoted through our social media channels. We would welcome your support in getting it to as many appropriate people as possible.

Our short consultation will take 10 minutes of your time but could help change a life!

Obviously, our plan to have a signup event in May or June following public consultation could not happen. We have been waiting to see what happens with the coronavirus and are considering whether an online signup event might be appropriate in these changed times.

In the meantime, we have not been idle. In addition to the consultation, you may have seen our online promotion of the new postal HIV testing service from Public Health Wales. This has been highly successful – of the 3000 kits that have already been requested, a third were for Cardiff & Vale residents – and we are working with Public Health Wales to continue supporting the scheme.

In particular, we will be working with vulnerable groups who may not have a secure home address – those who are homeless and asylum seekers, for example – to ensure that they can access this excellent new scheme.  If this sounds like something you or your organisation can support please do get in touch.

The new test and post kit from PHW is convenient, confidential and FREE.

We’d like to congratulate Public Health Wales and C&V Sexual Health services for their swift response to the Covid-19 epidemic, re-tooling sexual health services to provide the HIV postal testing scheme, virtual clinic appointments and postal treatments. But we are also going further. We have recently been awarded a small grant to buy HIV self-testing kits (where you get your own result – the PHW scheme requires you to return the test for a result) for Butetown and Grangetown residents who are at greatest risk of HIV. This pilot scheme, working with local GPs, is planned to run in the Autumn and will be fully evaluated.

We are also collaborating with Cardiff University to investigate HIV stigma and give community support to their evaluation and behavioural research.

A last minute addition to this update sees an announcement from Vaughan Gething MS the Minister for Health and Social Services, regarding the continuation of PrEP provisions here in Wales beyond the PrEPARED pilot. This is a fantastic step towards achieving zero stigma and zero HIV transmission by 2030; and we look forward to continuing our work with the minister on this matter.

Finally, we do not have any core funding to support our work beyond September, so we are exploring options to enable us to have a part time coordinator for all this and more. If you you’d like to find out more, get involved or support Fast Track Cardiff & Vale please do get in touch.

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