An HIV sufferer is leaving Scotland because of a lack of support and constant abuse including being labelled a “gay paedophile.”
John Percy is the country’s longest surviving man with the illness, but says he is moving to London because his last few years in Edinburgh have been “hell.”
Mr Percy, 44, has lived with HIV for 25 years, he told the Scotsman, “I have been really annoyed by the lack of support from the Scottish Parliament to improve services and reduce stigma.
“I have had eggs thrown at me, people shouting at me in the street calling me a gay paedophile. I just can’t take it any more, I am angry that I am having to leave my own country because of this. The people who give me this abuse are either too ignorant or just plain stupid.”
Scottish police confirmed there had been complaints from the campaigner about verbal and physical assault, with some resulting in charges.
HIV Scotland, a policy and support organisation backed by the Scottish Executive, were eager to point out that the report only relates to the experience of one individual living with HIV.
Chief executive, Roy Kilpatrick, told PinkNews.co.uk: “It is true that stigma and discrimination often form a barrier to good health and is well known in the experience of people from African and Minority Ethnic and LGBT communities, both of which are disproportionately affected by HIV.
“Without knowing anything of the particular instances of harassment to which Mr Percy refers, it is difficult to know how typical his experience in that regard may be. It is unfortunate that the report links his very individual experience with what he considers to be lack of support from HIV agencies.
“HIV Scotland feels confident in saying that the vast majority of HIV positive people find a great deal of dedicated, professional and consistent support from HIV agencies in Edinburgh where Mr Percy has lived for four years.
Even with pressures on funding and resources, Waverley Care, Positive Voice and Gay Men’s Health to name but a few, put a lot of energy into tailoring their work to meet individual and community needs.”