Robbie Lawlor has been praised for educating the nation on HIV and the stigma that surrounds it during his appearance on the Tommy Tiernan Show over the weekend.
The HIV activist spoke candidly about his own diagnosis in 2012 when he was 21 and the breakthroughs in treatment in recent years which means that undetectable equals untransmittable.
As well as informing the public, Robbie Lawlor also informed Tommy Tiernan himself.
“Would you be shocked if I told you that my boyfriend is HIV negative and we don’t wear condoms in the relationship?” he asked Tommy.
“There’s this lovely, lovely scientific term called U=U. Undetectable = Untransmittable.
“Because the medication is so good, there’s so few of free-flowing HIV in my semen that I cannot pass on HIV. It’s impossible sexually.”
“It’s a game-changer… for me, it means my HIV affects no one. Maurice, my partner of seven years now, it doesn’t affect him. I take my pill every day to keep me safe, and him of course.”
I have just learned more about HIV & AIDS in the last 10 minutes then ever before from the great chat between @Robbie_Lawlor and @Tommedian #tommytiernanshow
— David Gillick (@DavidGillick) April 10, 2021
The interview gained a lot of attention online with people praising Robbie Lawlor for his charm and clear explanations of HIV and its treatment. Some commented on how unaware they were of HIV in Ireland and what it meant to be HIV positive.
Jesus, but I love this show. I am utterly charmed by @Robbie_Lawlor and I am learning so much. #tommytiernanshow
— Eithne Shortall (@eithneshortall) April 10, 2021
Lawlor also discussed how people’s unawareness comes from a lack of education and how this is leading to rising rates of infection in the country.
“HIV rates have never been higher in Ireland than they are today. We get around 500 new diagnoses per year. We’re one of the highest in Europe actually per rate of diagnoses,” he said.
“It’s still quite prevalent. So around half of new diagnoses are among the gay and bi people in our society.
“But a quarter are women. Around 4pc are injecting drug users. A lot of heterosexual men out there. But these are the stories you don’t hear, these are the faces you don’t see.”
‘We have a lot of unlearning to do’ @Robbie_Lawlor is spot on, so get unlearning kids ✌?✌?✌? https://t.co/XUYQsu3z8U
— Nathaniel J Hall (@NathanielJHall) April 11, 2021
Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris also joined in the praise for Lawlor’s interview saying: “Educational, honest and real. You will have helped so many & indeed helped us all in terms of understanding and knowledge.” He also agreed to meet with Act UP, the USI and Lawlor to discuss how to improve education around sexual health and HIV.
Count me in! Will be in touch to arrange to meet
— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) April 11, 2021
So thrilled and overwhelmed by the incredible response to my appearance on #tommytiernanshow
HIV stigma is so pervasive in Ireland. It is so damaging to the thousands of us living with HIV in this country. Want to help lessen it? Here are a few short things you can do: pic.twitter.com/DYSEfLmmuU
— Robbie Lawlor (@Robbie_Lawlor) April 11, 2021
For more information visit HIV Ireland’s website and for information on testing click here.
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