HIV testing should be free and readily available
Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin TD, has called on the government to take action on raising awareness of HIV testing and treatment.
Deputy Howlin said:
“The rise in rates of HIV diagnosis in recent years is very worrying. Diagnosed cases have seen a steady increase year on year since 2011. This year alone there have been 450 people in Ireland diagnosed which was an increase of 66 people on this time last year.
“HIV is no longer the death sentence it once was but early diagnosis and proper treatment are essential. Equally as important is the prevention of contraction of HIV.
“HIV testing should be free and readily available around the country, as too should PrEP, even for those without a medical card. PrEP is not a cure for HIV but it is an essential component in the reduction of HIV spread and decreases the risk to those most vulnerable to infection.
“Information on HIV prevention should be integrated into our second level sexual health education programmes. There was much discussion at the Joint Oireachtas Committee examining the 8th Amendment about how our sex education programmes in schools are essential to reduce rates of unwanted pregnancy. They are also needed to give young people the information they need to ensure they avoid contracting STIs such as HIV.”