ACT UP Dublin has released a flier, showing a clear link between HSE funding cuts for Gay Men’s Health Services and a sharp increase of new HIV infections among men who have sex with men (MSM) over the past nine years.
According to Will St. Leger of ACT Up Dublin: “Regular testing and treatment are the most effective ways to bring rates of STIs down. But there’s no use telling people to go for testing if they can’t get access to the services they need. Overcrowding and long waits are the norm—and that’s if you’re lucky enough to not be turned away at the door.”
“Despite the massive budget cuts, despite the challenges of working in a neglected and run-down building, the GMHS has done its best to meet the growing needs of the community,” St Leger adds.
“In 2016 they added a new Monday afternoon screening clinic and, last November, a Thursday-morning PrEP support clinic.”
“These are steps in the right direction, but we need to let the Government and the HSE know how important these services are to the community. We need to see a commitment to increase funding, to expand available services, and to improve the condition of the clinic facilities.”
ACT UP distributed a leaflet across the Dublin LGBT+ scene last night, prompting a flurry of social media posts highlighting the issue.
— Anna ?Keogh (@bananas_sex_ed) January 18, 2018
The number of recorded HIV cases in Ireland is at the highest number since records began. A lot more funding is needed to support the work of #ourgmhs not less.
— Dermot O' Sullivan (@Gas_mark_seven) January 17, 2018
New diagnosis of HIV have been rising in Ireland yet funding for sexual health testing and treatment is being cut. For many men these clinics are the only place they can get adequate free treatment. The GMHS is fantastic, but already super underresourced. #ourGMHS https://t.co/f1TxDQCC4a
— Lehane-MrGay Ireland (@LeHandyman) January 18, 2018
Voice Your Concern
“Let them know that #ourGMHS needs proper funding and support. Let them know that we won’t stand for further neglect of this vital service. We deserve better, #ourGMHS deserves better,” says St. Leger.
ACT UP Dublin members will be out in force in LGBT+ bars and clubs over the next few weekends with leaflets.
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