|Dear Friends and Allies,|
We have another jam-packed bulletin with lots of exciting things to catch you up on. Firstly the big news – the HIV Action Plan was launched last week. The Plan addresses many of our requests including the creation of a national case management system, tackling stigma through education (training within health and social care settings and improved RSE for young people) and the creation of a Fast Track Cymru across Wales, building on our success with Fast Track Cardiff & Vale. In fact, this bulletin will in future be part of Fast Track Cymru.
If you want to know more about the Plan and the actions in it, there is a brief guide to key points in it and a link to the full document on our website at fasttrackcardiff.wales/easy-guide-hiv-action-plan-for-wales
As part of this we are working to support the co-creation of new Fast Track City arrangements in both Swansea and North Wales. If you work in either of these areas, feel that your skill set would be useful and would like to get involved, please do let us know and we will put you in contact with the relevant people.
Our one year Texting for Testing project is in its final phase. In all, 20 GP practices across Cardiff & Vale sent out a total of just over 150,000 messages to adult patients encouraging them to get tested for HIV through the national postal testing scheme. This initiative has been widely welcomed and has already informed the creation of similar projects supported by Terrence Higgins Trust in England. Data on the use of the project has been collected both internally and through Public Health Wales, and we look forward to sharing the results through an evaluation report. As this project comes to a close at the end of March we say goodbye to our team member Zsanett. We would like to publicly thank her for her work on this and wish her well in all of her future endeavours. Further work to expand the scheme across Wales is expected to be part of the Action Plan.
The HIV Advocacy Network has held lively recent discussions on HIV education in schools and on PrEP which were open to all. These went well and came up with useful ideas for the future, enabling attendees to make useful links with each other. See below for our upcoming meeting, which will be on the HIV Action Plan.
We also recently met with the Senior Management Team of Cardiff Council (having already done so with the Vale), providing an HIV information update and discussing how the Council can continue to play a part in Fast Track and the ending of HIV transmission by 2030 in Wales. Partnership working with local authorities and health boards is a key part of Fast Track alongside community initiatives and research.
Our next Advocacy Network meeting is 6-7pm on Monday the 20th of March and will be all about the HIV Action Plan. This meeting is open to everyone across Wales and we particularly encourage community activists, people living with HIV and those on PrEP to join us – please email Hana at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or would like to attend and we will send you a link.
On the 18th of March there is a Fighting HIV Stigma March and Rally in London and for more information please see https://www.tht.org.uk/fighting-hiv-stigma-march-and-rally-faqs.
As part of our recent discussions on PrEP we will be seeking shortly to map the PrEP journey in each health board, working with Public Health Wales. We want to know your experiences if you have sought or used PrEP in the last year. This will inform recommendations on good practice to be shared with health boards. If you have a story that you would like to share with us, please write to us at email@example.com.
With all this happening, we are facing a new era of HIV work and campaigning in Wales. All of us have a part to play in making the changes we need to end HIV transmission and challenge the stigma which continues to hamper testing and treatment. We hope that you want to come with us on this journey – there’s room for all!
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The FTC&V Team