Rates of HIV among gay and bisexual men are rising


Figures for 2015 show that gay and bisexual men are the group most likely to acquire HIV in Ireland

This news comes on World Aids Day, a day for people to unite in the fight against HIV and show their support for people living with HIV.

The figures, released by the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre, show that there were 205 newly diagnosed cases of HIV in Ireland in the first 6 months of 2015.

95 of the new diagnoses were gay and bisexual men. This is up from 94 cases for the same period in 2014 and 83 in 2013.

Between 2005 and 2014 there has been a four‐fold increase in the number of new diagnoses among those aged between 25‐34 years. The average age of HIV diagnosis for gay and bisexual men has fallen from 37 to 31 since 2005.

“It is clear from the latest figures that HIV remains an issue of critical concern for gay and bisexual men. There remains a clear need for gay and bisexual men to know their HIV status” said Tiernan Brady, Director of Gay HIV Strategies with GLEN.

 “The age group of people most at risk of HIV is getting younger. There is a real and urgent need to educate a new generation of young people, and young gay and bisexual men, in particular, about HIV and the importance of knowing your HIV status” said Brady.

GLEN will launch Ireland’s first free rapid HIV testing programme in the new year. The testing will be provided in a variety of non-clinical venues in Dublin, Cork and Limerick.

“If people have HIV then the earlier they become aware of their status the better it will be for their long-term health. Most HIV is transmitted by people who are unaware that they have HIV, so early diagnosis can further reduce onward transmission rates,” said Brady.

“HIV testing needs to be provided in innovative ways to increase testing rates. People do not necessarily look forward to getting a HIV test. And testing therefore needs to be convenient, non-judgemental and provided how, when and where is most appropriate for the people we are encouraging to test,” he said.

© 2015 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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