Joan McAlpine has congratulated the Terrence Higgins Trust for adapting their services to suit the needs of rural people and communities during a visit to the Dumfries centre yesterday.
Ms McAlpine was shown round the centre by Health Promotion Specialist Johnathon Gallagher who was appointed late last year to provide a range of services on behalf of the Terrence Higgins Trust to Dumfries and Galloway.
During the visit Ms McAlpine found out more about the work of the Trust and about the projects currently being carried out in Dumfries and Galloway, as well as the tailored advice and support offered. Ms McAlpine said:
“The Terrence Higgins Trust is a high profile, national charity who has been at the forefront of supporting people with HIV and AIDS and helping to minimise the risk of exposure. It was very interesting to meet the local Dumfries and Galloway team, and I was particularly impressed by the way the Terrence Higgins Trust have tailored the service they offer in Dumfriesshire to the rurality of our area, for example by providing group support sessions by phone and posting health supplies, such as condoms, to people rather than requiring them to visit the centre in Dumfries.
“For many people in our region a journey to Dumfries can be challenging for all sorts of reasons, whether that is the demands of work, disability or lack of access to transport. So it was heartening to see the steps the Terrence Higgins Trust is taking to make sure the services they offer are 100% accessible to people. Breaking down the barriers to accessing health services and advice will naturally lead to greater use of services and support.”
During her visit Ms McAlpine was told about the practical ways the Terrence Higgins Trust can help reduce the risk of HIV infection, in particular post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), a month-long course of HIV drugs that someone takes very soon after they think they might have been exposed to the HIV virus.
Ms McAlpine added: “I’m delighted that the support and services provided by the Terrence Higgins Trust is now easily accessible to people in Dumfries and Galloway. The professionalism and the commitment of the team in the Dumfries branch will no doubt be of great benefit to many people in our region.”
Robert McKay, National Director for Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland, said:
“We are delighted Joan McAlpine MSP has taken the time to visit us and see first hand the work that Terrence Higgins Trust is doing in Dumfries and Galloway. Our new services will not only help us continue delivering local support for those people living with HIV and other sexual health conditions, but also enable those living in rural areas to access advice and information.
“We hope that Ms McAlpine will help to keep HIV prevention, treatment and support at the top of the political agenda in Scotland.”