Working With African Communities In Forth Valley To Reduce HIV

Waverley Care, Scotland’s HIV and Hepatitis C charity, has today launched its Forth Valley African Health Project.

The project, which is being delivered by Waverley Care in partnership with NHS Forth Valley, aims to raise awareness of HIV and reduce transmission of the virus by working closely with African communities across the region.

Alongside providing information on HIV prevention and promoting testing, the charity will also provide specialist support to help those living with the condition to live life to the full.

The need for the new services comes in response to an assessment and report by NHS Forth Valley which identified improved engagement with African communities as a key aim of its HIV prevention strategy for the years ahead.

Speaking at the launch, Mildred Zimunya, Waverley Care’s Senior Manager for the African Health Project, said:

 “We are delighted to be working in Forth Valley and over the coming weeks and months we’ll be reaching out to African communities across the region.

“African communities are disproportionately affected by HIV and this is compounded by the myths that surround the condition. HIV stigma is a huge factor and we know that work in the community is the best way to challenge this.

“Through our outreach work, we will be promoting sexual health information and encouraging people to get tested. Testing can give people peace of mind and if a diagnosis of HIV is made, individuals can take control of their health.

“We also provide practical, emotional and physical support for people living with HIV. With treatment, HIV is a manageable, long-term condition that allows people to live active, healthy lives.”

NHS Forth Valley Consultant in Genito-Urinary Medicine, Dr Kirsty Abu-Rajab added: “HIV continues to be an on-going concern  in Scotland. The two main groups that are disproportionately affected are men who have sex with men and people from African countries with a high prevalence of HIV. Key issues for people from African countries include late diagnosis of HIV, and isolation.

A needs assessment  by NHS Forth Valley, carried out in partnership with HIV Scotland , suggested that a co-ordinated response was required to engage with Africans living in Forth Valley, using culturally sensitive staff and engaging with organisations in touch or working with Africans.

Waverley Care has been delivering HIV prevention and support services to Africans in Scotland since 2004 and I am confident that this joint project will be extremely successful. Waverley Care has only been working with us for 1 month and already we have seen strong signs of community engagement which is very optimistic.”

To contact Waverley Care Forth Valley for information and advice, call 07718 970591 or email



CAPTION (left to right) Mildred Zimunya, Waverley Care Senior Manager for the African Health Project, African Health Project Worker Bibiana Zirra and NHS Forth Valley Consultant in Genito-Urinary Medicine, Dr Kirsty Abu-Rajab.