news

Wales makes availability of Covid vaccine easier for people living with HIV

Welsh government has made changes "so that your HIV clinic can make the arrangements for you to be contacted.”

2021-02-19

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Pixabay

People living with HIV in Wales can now be contacted about the coronavirus vaccine via their HIV clinic, under new arrangements.

Welsh Health Secretary Vaughan Gething’s rule change follows concerns over how individuals with HIV would be contacted about the vaccine if they hadn’t disclosed their diagnosis to their GP.

This led to a campaign by HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust.

“We’ve made changes”

According to THT, “everyone with HIV is automatically in priority group 6 as long as their GP is aware of their HIV status. If your clinic thinks you are at higher risk you can be put into priority group 4, and get the vaccine sooner, but you will need to be added to a central NHS list to be put into priority group 4.”

In a tweet, the Welsh government confirmed: “If you live with HIV and you haven’t disclosed your diagnosis to your GP, you may be concerned about how you’ll be contacted about your coronavirus vaccine.

"In Wales, we’ve made changes so that your HIV clinic can now make the arrangements for you to be contacted.”

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.”

Read the Attitude March issue, out now to download and to order globally.

Subscribe in print and get your first three issues for just £1 each, or digitally for just over £1.50 per issue.