Fundraising concert in aid of Kirk HIV Programme

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The Heart and Soul Swing Band, pictured here playing at the Heart and Soul 2015 festival in Edinburgh,

A group that has raised more than £5,000 for the Church of Scotland's HIV Programme is performing a fundraising concert at South Queensferry Parish Church on Friday.

The Heart and Soul swing band, which appeared on BBC's Songs of Praise programme recently, was formed by the Rev Dr Robin Hill of Longniddry Parish Church in East Lothian and is made up of ministers and elders.

The band perform concerts around the country with all the proceeds going to the Church of Scotland HIV Programme.

Meanwhile, an exhibition showcasing the plight of asylum seekers and refugees living with HIV who are living in Scotland is going on display at Holyrood next Wednesday.

Photovoice features 20 people from Africa who were each given cameras to document their own lives.

The images illuminate complex human stories that lie behind the phenomenon of HIV and draw the audience into the world of despair and optimism faced by a group of extremely vulnerable people.

The research has been undertaken by Dr Dina Sidhva (Associate, Global Health Academy and Honorary Fellow, Edinburgh India Institute, University of Edinburgh) under the auspices of the HIV, Human Rights and Development Network (HHRD) at the University of Edinburgh (co-hosted by the University's Global Health Academy).

Marjorie Clark, HIV Programme Coordinator at the Church of Scotland said: "We have been delighted to fund this valuable research.

"The project has given a voice to a small group of asylum seekers and refugees who have various complex day to day issues, only one of which is living with HIV.

"It is hoped that this exhibition will illuminate these complex human stories, raise awareness and change perceptions.

"For the participants, it has been a meaningful experience, one in which they have felt listened to and valued.

"It is now up to us to listen to them."

HIV is an enormously complex issue and has a profound impact on asylum-seekers who have lived in Scotland for years and still awaiting a decision from The Home Office on whether they can stay.

Some of them have suffered severe trauma, forced to live day-after-day in uncertainty while they await the outcome of what could be a "life-or-death" decision.

Scottish Minister for Europe and International Development Humza Yousaf is expected to attend the opening of the exhibition.