Uncovering HIV ‘perfect storm’

Dr Andrew McAuley told MPs that Glasgow has one of the strongest cases in Europe for introducing a drug consumption facility in its city centre.

Dr McAuley addressed Westminster as part of an inquiry into problematic drug use in the country.

His appearance at the Committee followed a seven-year study by blood-borne virus researchers from GCU, Health Protection Scotland, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the University of the West of Scotland. It revealed for the first time the scale and drivers of the UK’s largest HIV outbreak in more than 30 years in Glasgow. A significant rise in cocaine injecting in the city, homelessness and other key factors combined to create what they called a perfect storm for an HIV outbreak in 2015.

Dr McAuley, a Senior Research Fellow/Senior Epidemiologist in Blood-Borne Viruses at GCU and HPS, was lead author of the research paper, which was published in The Lancet HIV journal.

Co-author Dr Norah Palmateer, a senior research fellow at GCU, said: “Our research identifies key determinants of HIV infection among a vulnerable population of individuals to inform public health interventions that can be targeted to prevent further new infections and to help test and treat those already exposed.”

Glasgow’s case for a drug consumption room is arguably the most compelling in Europe for decades. The HIV outbreak, drug death epidemic, largest botulism outbreak Europe has ever seen – there’s a host of reasons why Glasgow is a perfect case for the UK’s first consumption room.

Dr Andrew McAuley
School of Health and Life Sciences