Responding to the Government consultation on the HIV Action Plan
Today Welsh Government’s Action Plan for HIV is being launched at the Senedd and is now out for consultation until Wednesday 14 September 2022. It is meant to be a practical document, with 26 actions that the Welsh Government and partners can take to work towards reducing HIV transmissions and bettering the lives of people living with HIV in Wales. Lots of people have worked on parts of this action plan, including several FTC&V volunteers and people living with HIV. We have done our best to get our views across in the Action Plan – and now it’s your turn to have your say.
Not sure where to start?
If you have never responded to a consultation before, it’s not as complex or as time-consuming as you might think. Below are a few key principles on how to respond and a quick run-through of some of the main areas of the Action Plan.
How to respond
- You do not have to comment on everything. Stick to the stuff you know and care about. Two short paragraphs giving clear feedback on something specific has more impact than something long and vague – the people who have to analyse responses will thank you for it too!
- It is helpful to say what you like in the Plan as well as what could be improved – the Government need to know what is supported by people who care about the issue; you can bet there are people out there who will disapprove of things, so if you support something, say so.
- If something in the plan isn’t right, or isn’t enough, it’s helpful to say how it could be done better. Constructive criticism has more of an impact. If there’s an example from elsewhere of how something could be done better, giving links to evidence is helpful and will make a bigger impact.
- Proposed actions should be legally possible, financially costed and have a measurable impact. Welsh Government can’t act outside its powers and doesn’t have bottomless pockets, but don’t let that stop you from asking for what you think would end HIV and its stigma. Welsh Government particularly needs to hear about unmet need; what could have helped you but wasn’t available, and is it included in here?
- Personal experience is valuable; tell us about services that worked for you, ones that failed to meet your needs (and why) and what would have made them better.
The HIV Action Plan
The actions of this Plan are underpinned by three overarching principles:
- There should be zero tolerance when it comes to HIV-related stigma.
- Plans for implementation of new initiatives and services will be informed by, or developed with, people living with HIV, with particular recognition of contextual differences by sexuality, ethnicity, age, gender and location.
- All new initiatives and services will be subject to ongoing monitoring and evaluation to make sure they meet the actions and principles laid out in the plan.
The 5 Priority Areas for Action
In addition to these three overarching themes are 5 priority areas for Action:
- PREVENTION – Particular focus on increasing PrEP uptake through awareness raising and improvements in access and delivery.
- TESTING – Combating late diagnosis through reducing barriers to testing and ensuring no opportunities for testing are missed in healthcare settings
- CLINICAL CARE – Improving access to clinical care and ART in the management and treatment of HIV, with particular emphasis on providing additional support for individuals that find engaging with clinical care and treatment difficult.
- LIVING WELL WITH HIV – Tackling the impact of poor mental health brought about as a result of HIV diagnosis through the provision of services and additional support outside of clinical care, particularly HIV peer support services and a dedicated HIV support network.
- TACKLING HIV-RELATED STIGMA – Challenging stereotypes and misunderstandings of HIV, including among Health and Social Care service providers, to reduce stigma and discrimination and create positive attitudes around HIV.
How to support things you like about the Plan
- Participate in the consultation (link to consultation)
- Tell your MS
- Tell the Health Minister
- Join our Wales HIV Advocacy Network for regular updates here!
How to get help if you want to know more
- If you would like more information about the Action Plan or Consultation please contact Hana Owens (Wales HIV Advocacy Network Coordinator) via email at email@example.com.
- THT – Draft HIV Action Plan for Wales: respond now. Link: https://www.tht.org.uk/news/draft-hiv-action-plan-wales-respond-now