Will St Leger, who wrote this month’s magazine feature about the future of sexual health in Ireland, is a member of ACT UP Dublin, a diverse, nonpartisan group of individuals united in anger and committed to direct action to end the HIV and AIDS crisis. Formed in July of 2016, ACT UP Dublin is a response to the steady growth in new HIV diagnoses in Ireland, and the persistent silence and stigma that continues to surround HIV.
“There’s an average of one HIV diagnosis every 18 hours in Ireland, half of those are gay and bisexual men. Meanwhile, in England, recent data reveals the first downturn in HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men since records began.
“Our government needs to make accessing sexual health services convenient by introducing full-time, six-day a week clinics that offer STI testing and treatment, along with links to mental health and substance use support services,” he says.
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a medication shown to dramatically reduce the risk of contracting HIV (over 85%), was made available, on private prescription, through Irish pharmacies last December for the first time.
PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV transmission by over 85%. Ireland’s 500 new cases of HIV each year is out of sync with other countries where increased access to PrEP has led to significant falls. Campaign research shows 57% of existing PrEP users in Ireland obtain the medication from unregulated sources.
Although strides have been made to increase the awareness of PrEP’s availability in Irish pharmacies, 30% of respondents to our PrEP & You Survey did not know or were unsure whether it was available in Ireland.
Campaign PrEPLoveLife is designed to increase awareness of PrEP amongst groups most at risk of HIV infection and transmission while also informing the general public on the overall positive effect it has for modern-day Ireland, in conjunction with safer sex practices.
To find out more about PrEP in Ireland, visit their website here.
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