Ireland must do more to challenge stigma attached to HIV, a leading health expert has said.
Dr Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund – an organisation designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics – says Ireland must create a society which is more accepting of those with HIV, reports The Irish Times.
“HIV is itself discriminatory, it preys on people who are left behind or marginalised by society,” said Dybul. He added that nations which are focused on building a more equitable society with regards to LGBT issues must uses national interest to create a more tolerant society.
Statistics released by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) in October 2016 show that there were 273 HIV diagnoses in the first six months of 2016 – a rate of two new diagnoses every day.
Of those 273 new diagnoses, 222 were male and 129 of those were men who have sex with men (MSM).
“It’s a strange thing but we cannot end the HIV epidemic unless we become better human beings, that’s unique for an infectious disease,” Dybul, told The Irish Times.
“The reality is it’s gender equality and a more equal society that will be the driver of whether or not we achieve the end of the HIV epidemic and end discrimination in the process.”
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