A community forum on PreEP and other sexual health services in Ireland is set to take place in the Outhouse Theatre this week. The Irish government has promised to introduce a PrEP programme at the beginning of 2019. The event encourages community members to come together to learn more about the medication and other services.
The free community event will take place this Thursday and will include guest speakers and discussions on the development of PrEP and future sexual health services.
Speakers on the evening will include Dr Pierre-Cédric Crouch and Dr Paddy Mallon.
Dr Crouch is Director of Nursing at Magnet, a community-based sexual health clinic in San Francisco’s Castro district. He led the development of Magnet’s nurse-led PrEP clinic which provides free, easy to acquire PrEP services.
Dr Mallon is a consultant in infectious diseases and leads the University College Dublin’s HIV Molecular Research Group. He is a member of the HSE’s PrEP Working group. He has also been a leading advocate for access to PreEP in Ireland.
Dr Thomas Strong from Act Up will be moderating the event. His BA thesis examined the sociocultural significance of blood supplies specifically HIV risk and blood donor eligibility guidelines. Since 2009, he has been a part of organisations responding to the HIV crisis in Ireland.
The event was organised by Gay Switchboard and Act Up.
Last week, Act Up went to Minister for Health Simon Harris’ office after repeated requests for a meeting went ignored.
Will St Leger of Act Up Dublin said: “Three weeks ago I met with Simon Harris and he gave me a personal commitment that he would meet with us.
“We hadn’t even got an acknowledgement back from his office. I had to make two phone calls before we actually got an acknowledgement back,” said St Leger.
June was the first time Simon Harris publicly acknowledged the HIV crisis in Ireland.
One Twitter user asked about the accessibility of PrEp to which Harris said, “Fair and important point. Working hard on this. Plan is to roll out PrEP programme from start of 2019. Will post updates here. Will get this done”
Fair and important point. Working hard on this. Plan is to roll out PrEP programme from start of 2019. Will post updates here. Will get this done
— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) June 29, 2018
“We want to engage with Simon and see the programme and the plan that they have for the roll-out of PrEP because the community needs to be involved in that roll-out,” said St Leger.
The Preparing For PrEP event will allow community members to become educated on the medication and other sexual health services available in Ireland. Organisers also hope that attendees will come together to participate in a discussion regarding the development of the PrEP programme.
The event is free to the public and will take place in the Outhouse Theatre on Thursday, July 19th. Doors open at 6:15 pm. The event begins at 6:30 pm.
If you can’t make it and have any questions or would like to make a contribution to the discussion you can also tweet using the hashtag #PrEP4Ireland and you can watch the event live on our Facebook page.
© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.