Member's debate: World Aids Day 2013

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Scottish Labour MSP Sarah Boyack called on the UK government to "take a stand and push for solidarity and equality of access to HIV drugs" during a member's debate on World AIDS Day on 5 December 2013.

Ms Boyack said the "threat of new restrictions to cheaper generic drugs through trade regulations are being discussed and agreed behind closed doors" and demanded "transparency in those talks so that affordability of drugs and the needs of those with HIV across the world drive the conclusions of those trade talks."

The member for Lothian expressed her concern for the 25 million people infected with the HIV virus in sub-Saharan Africa for whom access to affordable drugs was particularly acute.

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson focussed on the work to fight HIV/AIDS in Scotland, where approximately 6000 people carry the virus, and the work of Edinburgh's Waverly Trust in raising public awareness with the help of a £270,000 grant to fund the "Always Hear" campaign.

Mr Matheson said research showed "that a campaign by government is more likely to increase fear and stigma, however a campaign run by a voluntary organisation was seen as more acceptable to the public".

The minister also told the Parliament that home testing kits for HIV will be available in Scotland from 2014.

World AIDS Day took place on Sunday 1 December with a series of events around the globe to highlight the on-going fight against the disease and commemorate those who have already lost their lives.

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