The latest report from HSE indicates that cases of HIV, Syphilis & Gonorrhoea in MSM have risen in 2016
HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) data from the first half of 2016 indicates that the number of cases of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have increased particularly in men who have sex with men (MSM).
Dr Derval Igoe, Specialist in Public Health Medicine, HPSC and Chair of a multisectoral national group which was established in early 2016 to respond to the recent increases said: “We are concerned about a 50% increase in syphilis, and a 30% increase in HIV cases in 2015.”
“Latest data for 2016 show that gonorrhoea rates in men have risen by 63%,” Dr Igoe said, indicating that this increase is likely occurring in MSM.
“Although some of the increase in HIV can be explained by a change in the notification procedures for HIV and an outbreak in people who inject drugs these increases have largely been seen in men who have sex with men.”
Dr Igoe outlined that MSM represent a significant portion of those who are being diagnosed with HIV and STIs.
“MSM account for four fifths of the syphilis cases, and more than half of the HIV cases,” Dr Igoe said.
“For HIV an increasing proportion of MSM born abroad, and particularly from Latin America, who were HIV positive before coming to Ireland, has contributed to this.
“There are also increases in the number of MSM from abroad who report acquiring HIV in Ireland.”
According to the MISI 2015 survey, 25% of men have had condomless sex with multiple partners in the last year. Such behaviour poses the risk of acquiring HIV or STIs.
Prevention & Awareness
Dr Fiona Lyons, Clinical Lead for HSE’s Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme said: “Promoting condom use and regular testing remain key to limiting the spread of HIV and STIs in men who have sex with men.”
The Gay Health Network, the HSE and other partners are continuing to promote sexual health awareness, encourage testing and support MSM in practicing safer sex through Man2Man.
Additionally, the Gay Mens Health Service have responded to the increase in new cases of HIV and STIs by offering a new testing service on Mondays in their Baggot St. facility.
Director of the Gay Health Network Noel Sutton said: “Safer sex using condoms is an effective way of preventing HIV and other STIs.
“We encourage men who have sex with men and who have taken a sexual health risk to get tested for HIV and STIs.
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