Fast Track Cardiff June 2021 Update – Bulletin #4

Dear Friend and Colleague,

This is the fourth quarterly news update from Fast Track Cardiff & Vale to let you know what we have been up to in our aim to eliminate new HIV diagnoses by 2030 by improving the quality and accuracy of data on HIV in Wales increasing access to and understanding of the importance of HIV testing challenging and reducing HIV stigma.  You may remember that in our last bulletin we reported on the European Testing Week which we piloted in Wales last November and promised a Wales HIV Testing Week this year. Well, we did it; in May the first official Wales HIV Testing Week was rolled out and many of you participated – thank you!

The coverage and response were substantially higher than November, with every health board bar Powys participating, many of them using our graphics and adding their own logo, which was exactly what we wanted. For example, our Twitter impressions were 482k, a substantial rise on the November total of 75k and we reached 700 users via our new Instagram account. Our Facebook reach rose from 2k to 10.6k over the equivalent period and click-throughs on links increased tenfold.

If you didn’t see the graphics at the time, you can find them all, plus the messages and briefings, on our Padlet here. The full analysis of our reach during the week is also available here, we look forward to an analysis of test orders from Frisky Wales shortly.

We were grateful for participation by many individuals and organisations including Russell T Davies, which got us coverage in Wales Online. Support for testing has continued, with the latest initiative being a poster with a QR code to order a Frisky Wales test kit up in the Queer Emporium in Cardiff city centre.

We will be holding our second Leadership Group meeting this month on the 23rd. High on the agenda will be the new Welsh Government’s commitment to not only ending new HIV diagnoses by 2030 but creating an Action Plan to get there. FTC worked with Terrence Higgins Trust and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on AIDS (APPGA) to put across our vision of what this should contain in the run-up to the election and we hope to work with the Welsh Government to make it a reality in the next couple of years.

As a reminder, our asks for the election (supported by a wide range of politicians from all the main parties) were:An HIV Action Plan for WalesEstablishing Fast Track City networks across Wales  Continued funding of the national HIV and STI postal testing scheme and support for a Welsh HIV Testing Week Establishing a national HIV surveillance system  Ensuring Health Boards meet their sexual health commitments and expand PrEP availability Leading a national anti-stigma campaign 
Through a closer relationship with the APPGA, we have already given Welsh-specific evidence to a UK parliamentary enquiry on HIV testing whose report should be published shortly, and we are about to give written and oral evidence about HIV services for black and minority ethnic people (their phrase, not ours) via our member agency Glitter. This is, as far as we know, the first time that Welsh-specific evidence has been consistently presented to the APPGA’s enquiries, which are highly influential.

If you have anything you’d like us to say to Parliament about HIV services as they affect (or fail to reach) racially minoritised communities in Wales, don’t hesitate to get in touch while we are working on this in June.

The Testing Week work was part of our 21st Century HIV project, which continues with our GP testing pilot in Butetown, expected to go live within the next week. We also continue to work on reaching out to people living with HIV across Wales to find out what kind of support they would like. A fourth arm of this is a Role Models photo exhibition of people living well with HIV in Wales, for which we are currently seeking nominations – please contact us if you have someone you would like to nominate as a role model.

On the research front, Molly’s work on self-stigma strategies is heading for publication while Nina’s work on stigma in a non-specialist healthcare setting is well underway and working with the GP pilot. We also have a new student analysing the Frisky Wales testing data from Cardiff & Vale specifically, which we hope will help us target further work. Our Research and Evaluation Strategy is online at https://fasttrackcardiff.wales/research-and-evaluation/ and in the same section of the website, you will also find the new HIV Data for Cardiff page, with infographics to easily get a snapshot of recent developments.  

If you would like to know any more about anything in this newsletter, please drop us a line.

Fast Track Cardiff & Vale Steering Group

This email has gone to a wide range of people who have shown an interest in Fast Track Cardiff & Vale – if it has come to you by mistake, or you don’t want to get our occasional updates, please just let us know by reply and we’ll stop being annoying (at least in this format). 

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