Sexual Health Funding Cut In Half, While New HIV Infections Have Doubled, Say ACT UP Dublin

A study by ACT UP Dublin finds that funding to the Gay Men's Health Service has been halved since 2009, while new HIV diagnoses amongst gay and bisexual men have doubled in the same period.

Graph from Act Up which shows to arrows completely

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.

 

Graph showing the effects of the reduction in spending on the numbers of new HIV diagnoses

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.”

 

GMHS budget figures from HSE on the foot of a parliamentary question by Louise O’Reilly TD (Sinn Féin) in 2017

“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.”

 

HIV Trends 2006-2016 which the ACT UP graph is based on

“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.

Voice Your Concern

Individuals are being urged by ACT UP Dublin to write to Minister for Health Simon Harris at [email protected] and Assistant National Director of Health Promotion Kevin Kelleher at [email protected].

You can also tweet and   to voice your concern for this issue.

“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.

View the full ACT UP Dublin leaflet here

 

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