Community News

Wales makes vaccine easier to access for those with HIV

Graham Robson February 19, 2021

The Welsh Government announced on Thursday, February 18 that they’ve implemented news rules meaning people living with HIV can get their Covid-19 vaccine without having to disclose their HIV status to a GP if they do not want to. Following a Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) campaign, Welsh Health Secretary Vaughan Gething has made it easier for those living with HIV to get their Covid-19 vaccine.

People living with HIV are set to get the Covid-19 vaccine in phase 6 of the rollout – after people over 65 and along with those with a number of other conditions, before the rest of the population under 65.

However, people living with HIV have pointed out the problem with the original rules. Because GPs are compiling the list for each phase, those living with HIV were only due to get the vaccine if they had disclosed their status to GP. Not everyone has – for all kinds of reasons, including the stigma that still exists about the virus. People living with HIV told the HIV Commission the people they were most likely to experience HIV related stigma from were healthcare professionals.

Wales is the first part of the UK to introduce this change. According to the latest statistics, there were 2,378 people living with HIV and accessing care in Wales in 2019.

Richard Angell, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at THT, said: “It’s brilliant that the Welsh government have listened to our campaign. This is a massive step forward for many people living with HIV – getting the COVID-19 vaccine should be about keeping people safe from coronavirus and not dependent on disclosing your HIV status and worrying about facing stigma. Where Wales have led the way, we hope others follow their example.”

Scene Magazine