Reacting to the Publication of the Infected Blood Inquiry Report, CEO of Positive Life, Jacquie Richardson, said, “Our thoughts are with all of those who have waited so long for the outcome of this Inquiry and the years of loss and anguish that have flowed from this devastating policy decision. 

“As a result of scientific advances over the years since this scandal occurred, HIV treatment has come a very long way, meaning individuals who are tested early and diagnosed can live long and healthy lives. Very sadly for those affected, this was not an option they had.   

“While HIV treatment has transformed, through our day to day work, we know that the stigma of living with HIV is no less today than it was then. This still affects not just an individual, but their circle of family, friends and loved ones and it is complex and challenging.  Many families feel they are still living in the shadow of HIV as a result of this scandal. 

“For those who became infected with HIV from blood transfusion or treatment with infected blood products, the psychological impact, the fear and the anger has been massively challenging. And of course our thoughts turn to the many many people who did not survive. 

“It is crucial that we learn from the mistakes revealed by the Inquiry, so that such an incident never happens again. We, along with other HIV charities continue to provide emotional and practical support to anyone and everyone affected by HIV, regardless of its origins.”

You can read the full report here


Fast Track Cities: Zero New HIV Diagnoses by 2030 is achievable

Northern Ireland could lead the way, through United Nations AIDS declaration

Northern Ireland has been officially declared a Fast Track Region today (Tuesday 23 April 2024), with the signing of a United Nations AIDS (UNAIDS) declaration aimed at reaching zero new HIV diagnoses by 2030.

The Fast-Track Cities “Paris Declaration” was signed on behalf of Belfast City Council by Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Ryan Murphy and the Deputy Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Jason Barr.

Fast-Track Cities is a global partnership involving cities and municipalities around the world. In Northern Ireland, the initiative is being led by the region’s only dedicated HIV charity, Positive Life.

The most recent HIV report from the Public Health Agency* showed that in 2022 there were 1,348 people living with HIV in Northern Ireland, of whom 1,049 were men and 299 were women. In 2022, this included 52 people who hadn’t previously been diagnosed.

Jacquie Richardson, Chief Executive of Positive Life said,

“This is the most exciting step forward for HIV in Northern Ireland for decades.  While there have been improvements in diagnosis and care, we cannot be complacent.

“There remains a real need for ongoing public awareness and education around the very serious health risks and impacts of HIV; secondly, a lot of work still needs to be done to break down the public stigma around HIV, which is based on many myths, prejudices and outdated misconceptions. These deeply affect the way individuals with HIV – and their families and friends - live their lives.  Finally, we need to keep up the drive for regular HIV testing, because the statistics show that 1 in 3 people diagnosed in Northern Ireland were diagnosed at a late stage, meaning that they had the virus for some years prior to diagnosis.

“By joining in this global movement and with a stronger focus at a grassroots, community public health level, we firmly believe that Northern Ireland could achieve the Fast Track Cities goal of zero new HIV diagnoses in Northern Ireland by 2030. How amazing would that be for Northern Ireland?”

Speaking on behalf of Fast Track Cities, Dr. José M. Zuniga, President/CEO, IAPAC (International Assocation of Providers of AIDS Care) said,

“IAPAC welcomes Belfast and Derry’s inclusion in the Fast-Track Cities network, which marks a pivotal step in Northern Ireland’s response to HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV).  Their commitment to community, public health, and political leadership is critical as they strive to end their HIV epidemic and eliminate HCV infections by 2030. Together Northern Ireland’s two most populous cities exemplify the power of collaboration and solidarity to create healthier communities.”

Cork, Dublin, Galway and Limerick, along with major cities across the UK have been signed up to Fast Track Cities for several years. Internationally, work undertaken through various Fast Track HIV initiatives has shaped national HIV strategies and action plans.

The signing event in Belfast was attended by community health officers from councils across Northern Ireland, as well as sexual health clinicians and public health officials. The event also heard from three individuals who have benefited from the support of Positive Life. The three men shared their very personal experiences of living with HIV in Northern Ireland, in particular the stigma they have faced in all circles of their lives, from family and friends, to the workplace.

Jacquie Richardson of Positive Life commented,

“For those who grew up in the 1980’s, we have come a very, very long way. However, stigma remains a serious concern for people affected by the virus and leads to feelings of shame and fear. We need to increase public awareness and ‘normalise’ the conversation around HIV. The key is knowledge, to get regularly tested and know your status, and to access treatment at the earliest opportunity. Our hope is to wipe out new cases of HIV in Northern Ireland, but there is much work still to be done.”

Dr Rachel Coyle, Public Health Consultant at the PHA said,

“The developments in HIV treatment and care over the last few decades are astonishing. Today, someone diagnosed early with HIV will be able to access highly effective treatment which makes the virus undetectable, so they cannot pass HIV to a sexual partner. HIV is not a barrier to having relationships, to having children or to leading a full and healthy life. The public health message is U=U: Undetectable equals Untransmittable.”

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Ryan Murphy, said:

“I’m delighted to have signed the Fast Track Cities pledge today and to lend my support towards the goal of having no new diagnoses of HIV by 2030.

“The more we talk about HIV, the more we reduce the stigma around it. Signing this pledge encourages conversation about the continued risk and impacts of HIV and the need for ongoing awareness. It also encourages those living with a HIV diagnosis to take advantage of the support that it is out there.”


Notes to editors

Launched in December 2014, the Fast Track Cities partnership has grown to more than 550 cities and municipalities that have committed to accelerate their local HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and viral hepatitis (HBV and HCV) responses to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.3 by 2030. IAPAC is delivering technical assistance to and engaging in direct interventions across the Fast-Track Cities network.

For more information and a full list of all the cities and countries signed up, visit:

*2022 Northern Ireland HIV statistics – Northern Ireland HIV data tables 2023 (data from 2022).pdf ( 

** To note: in 2022-23, reporting changed to include new cases of HIV for people who were first diagnosed before coming to live in Northern Ireland (53 of the 105 new diagnoses reported in 2022.)