By Francesc Galban for The Ferret

“The reality is that the HIV outbreak and drug-related deaths haven’t gone away just because we have declared a coronavirus pandemic in Scotland,” says Jennifer Goff.

Jennifer is the communications and engagement officer at Waverley Care, a Scottish organisation created over 20 years ago in response to the HIV outbreak in Edinburgh during the late 1980s.

Scotland is currently the country with the highest rate of drug-related deaths in Europe, with Glasgow sitting well above the country’s average number of cases.

This, together with a recent spike in HIV infections amongst injectable drug users, has put the city of Glasgow in the centre of national efforts to tackle this public health crisis.

“Ultimately, we are worried that the lockdown might induce unsafe injecting practices and decrease testing, increasing the risk of HIV transmission”, says Jennifer.

The Glasgow City Alcohol and Drug Partnership (ADP) estimates that there are around 500 people injecting and living on the streets in the city centre, making ends meet by begging, resorting to prostitution or petty crime.