Five party leaders from the Green party, Labour party, Social Democrats, Sinn Fein and Fine Fail took Rapid HIV tests at the launch of a new information leaflet by HIV Ireland. This is in hopes of increasing awareness and the numbers of people availing of HIV testing services.
The five leaders were attending the launch of HIV Ireland’s new leaflet, which focuses on ‘five asks’.
Professor Patrick Mahon, board member of HIV Ireland:
“In HIV Ireland we acknowledge the support that successive Governments have given to HIV care and treatment, we’ve got one of the best treatment programmes in Europe. We’ve got unfettered access to the best drugs to treat people living with HIV. These drugs are provided free and the care is provided free regardless of where people are coming from.
“Even with that success and despite the fact that clinically we are reaching the international benchmarks that we need to meet in terms of the number of people on treatment but we still have issues that remain.
“There are more HIV infections being reported every year almost than ever before, certainly the most in my experience treating people living with HIV in Ireland.
“We know that people who are living with HIV who are on effective treatment that is undetectable are not transmitting the virus.
“We can now use the science that we know to help these people live normal lives. That’s as a consequence of the availability of effective and cheap treatment that successive Governments have provided in Ireland.”
An increase in the availability of testing across Ireland was one of the five asks from HIV Ireland to the Government. The “Five Asks’ are:
1. Ireland to commit to the international Fast Track Cities project aimed at controlling the HIV epidemic.
2. Increase resources to maximise opportunities for community and healthcare-based HIV testing across Ireland. Each infection caught can stop another.
3. Implement HIV Prevention services, including Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) freely available, particularly to at-risk populations.
4. Increase resources for community-based HIV counselling and support services for people living with HIV in Ireland.
5. Develop a national awareness campaign promoting the U=U message to combat HIV related stigma and encourage more people to get tested.
Read the leaflet here.
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