‘HIV: Preventable and Treatable’ e-learning course launched to mark World AIDS Day

1st December 2020

A new e-learning course on HIV has been launched by Scottish Drugs Forum to mark World AIDS Day 2020.

Held every year on the 1st of December, World AIDS Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of HIV-related issues, show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.

As part of Scottish Drugs Forum’s activity this year, a new e-learning course – HIV: Preventable and Treatable – has been developed, which aims to increase participants’ understanding of the links between substance use and HIV; including its transmission, prevention and available treatment.

Adrienne Hannah, SDF’s Sexual Health, Blood Borne Virus and Harm Reduction Team Leader, said:

“This e-learning course has been designed to equip workers who are determined to reduce the risk of HIV among people who access their services.

“The course guides participants through all the information they need about HIV – from ‘what is HIV?’ to ‘who is affected?’ – as well as providing key information on transmission, testing, treatment and prevention.

“This includes the significance of three-monthly testing, the importance of early diagnosis and access to effective treatments which means that people affected by HIV are living longer and healthier lives.”

The free-to-access course also outlines the ongoing HIV outbreak, since 2015, affecting people who inject drugs in Glasgow and surrounding areas. This is the largest outbreak of HIV affecting people who use drugs in the UK for over 30 years.

Although a redesign of testing and treatment delivery has made a significant impact on transmission, the outbreak remains ongoing with some spread beyond the original Glasgow city centre cluster.

Lesley Bon, SDF’s Sexual Health, Blood Borne Virus and Harm Reduction Training Officer, who led the development of the course, said:

“Progress has been made with the current HIV outbreak in the Glasgow area due to the dedicated and innovative work carried out by multiple teams working collaboratively. However, ongoing transmission of HIV means these efforts are not reaching everyone at risk.

“It is essential that workers across Scotland have up to date knowledge on issues related to HIV and substance use, including information on the current outbreak, to prevent transmission among people who inject drugs in their care and to best support those who may be affected.”

“We would like to thank external colleagues from a range of services and our fantastic e-learning volunteers who helped review the course.”

This e-learning course complements SDF’s face-to-face training (currently delivered online) called ‘HIV and Harm Reduction’. Dates are available to book on the SDF training website.

Alongside the release of the e-learning course, SDF have also marked World AIDS Day by delivering a series of free webinars with Waverley Care on localised HIV outbreaks.

The first webinar, held on the 25th of November, included international perspectives with speakers from Greece, Romania and Ireland who shared their approaches. This has been recorded and will be available on the SDF Youtube channel soon.

The second webinar will be held on the 2nd of December at 14:00 – 16:00 and will focus on responses to the current HIV outbreak in Glasgow. Spaces are still available, and you can register for free by clicking here.

SDF offer a range of free to access e-learning courses which are available at the SDF training website.

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