HIV rates doubled in Ireland over past 12 months, research finds

Despite access to PrEP and at-home STI testing, HIV rates continue to increase in Ireland, especially among younger populations.

Dublin City building glows red in honor of HIV awareness while HIV rates have doubled in Ireland in the past year.
Image: Twitter @HIVIreland

Recent data released by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) indicates that HIV rates have doubled in Ireland over the past year.

Comparing 2022 data to 2021 data, cases of gonorrhoea have also increased by 92%, chlamydia by 51%, syphilis by 26%, and genital herpes by 22%. Cases are particularly high among young people, and while HIV cases are typically more common among men, one-third of the cases were diagnosed in women.

Dr Derek Freedman, a leading STI treatment specialist, acknowledges that while overall infection rates are on the rise, it is unfair to compare the data to 2021 due to the rare public health circumstances.

He attributes the stark spike in cases to a combination of factors including a decrease in testing in 2021 while many clinics closed in response to Covid-19, and the overall increase in social activities that happened in 2022 after lockdown restrictions were lifted. Still, STIs in people between the ages of 20-24 have increased compared to 2019.

To help reduce a further increase in cases, the public is urged to access PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) which is 99% effective in stopping the virus. While PrEP was made available in 2019, the lack of access to the medication remains an issue.

Another leading cause for concern as HIV rates have doubled in Ireland is the likelihood of under-diagnosis. While the stigma surrounding HIV diagnosis continues to improve, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control estimates that at least one in eight people are unknowingly living with HIV.

Earlier this year, the HSE announced that free at-home STI testing is available to everyone in Ireland. Testing greatly reduces the spread of HIV and other STIs, and home testing reduces the stress associated with scheduling an in-person appointment.

Kits are available in every county in the Republic of Ireland, and anyone aged 17 and over can order a test online. After a quick online screening, the free test kit is delivered to the person’s preferred address. The kit includes a step-by-step guide with video links and all of the apparatus needed to collect the required samples.

After completing the test at home, users can post it back to the laboratory in a pre-paid provided envelope, and results will be delivered by phone or text message within 72 hours.

To order a free at-home STI testing kit, visit

© 2023 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.