The focus of World AIDS Day 2015 is challenging people to rethink outdated stereotypes, challenge myths and be positive about HIV.
This issue is very close to the hearts of everyone at Haemophilia Scotland. The Penrose Inquiry, published this year, confirmed that 59 people with a bleeding disorders, such as haemophilia, were infected with HIV in Scotland when they were treated by the NHS with contaminated blood products. This is known as the contaminated blood disaster.
The stigma around HIV, as well as the virus itself, has done a huge amount of damage. When the public panic about AIDS was at its height many of the stories in the media referred to haemophilia. Families were shunned, relationships broke down, and jobs were lost. People with haemophilia were not only on the front line of the battle against both the virus and the stigma surrounding it. These issues are powerfully portrayed in the Dogstar production, Factor 9, which can be watched on Vimeo using the password “Inverness”.
This year’s World AIDS Day comes at a crucial time for people with a bleeding disorder and HIV in Scotland. Following the Penrose Inquiry the Scottish Government established a Financial Support Review Group who will be bringing forward recommendations for improvements to the financial support scheme in the next few days.
Draft proposals revealed at a recent consultation in Perth contained the following proposals for people with HIV as a result of the contaminated blood disaster.
- A minimum income of £37,000 a year, with appropriate tax and benefit exemptions.
- The payment to continue for a year on death and then to covert to a widow’s pension at 75%. This issue of loans made to widows would also be addressed.
- The option for these ongoing payments to be exchanged for a single lump sum payment in full and final settlement.
- A new Discretionary Grants Fund which should both honour the existing commitments of the MacFarlane Trust and allow all immediate family members to make applications in their own right.
- People with HIV who are not currently in receipt of the Skipton Fund Stage 2 payments would also be entitled to receive £50,000.
- Further work to be conducted on the issue of access to life insurance.
World AIDS Day Events & Activities in Scotland