Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Welfare plans must support those with HIV

More than 15 years after modern anti-retroviral medication transformed HIV into a manageable condition, the Terrence Higgins Trust's new report, HIV & Poverty (www.tht.org.uk/poverty) reveals a shocking picture of financial hardship among people with HIV in the UK.

The charity has seen a 15% increase in people accessing its hardship fund, which helps people with HIV in severe financial need cover basic living costs, like food, clothing and heating costs.

As the full impact of the government's welfare reforms starts to be felt, it is vital our political administration considers the needs of local people with HIV in its plans, and that financial, social and emotional support is available for those whose condition affects their ability to work and maintain financial stability.

HIV and poverty should not be linked. But, without adequate support, financial stress, poor diet and other factors associated with poverty can lead to mental and physical ill-health for people with HIV. That, in turn, makes it harder for them to re-enter employment or regain financial control.

Let's do all we can to make sure HIV and poverty no longer so often go hand-in-hand.

Christopher Preshur

Belfast

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