If you would like to take a look at our newly published Annual Report 2016, see below.
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An Irish AIDS Day and Men’s Health Week 2017 initiative.
To mark Irish AIDS Day (15th June) and Men’s Health Week (12th to 18th June) 2017, HIV Ireland will host a free education workshop on HIV in Ireland. The event will take place on Tuesday 13th June 2017 from 9:30am to 1:00pm in the offices of HIV Ireland.
The half-day education workshop aims to increase participants’ knowledge and awareness of HIV in Ireland and related issues, including:
- An overview of HIV in Ireland
- Current trends in HIV diagnoses
- Who might be at risk and why
- HIV transmission
- Preventing new HIV infections
- The impact of an HIV diagnoses
- HIV-related stigma
- Services, Support and Resources
The workshop will be beneficial to people working across a range of services including Sexual Health Workers, Health Advisers, Drug Service Providers, LGBT Services, Mental Health Practitioners, Housing/Homeless Services, Migrant Services, GPs, Counsellors, Social Workers, Nurses, and other professionals who may work with people living with, or at risk of, HIV.
While the event is free, booking is essential as places are limited. Places can be booked via Eventbrite – register your details here. Queries can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
IrishTimes.com, Thursday 11th May 2017
Ambivalence putting people at risk of contracting disease
Record numbers of people were diagnosed with HIV in Ireland last year amid concerns that a growing ambivalence about the disease is putting increasing numbers of people at risk.
More than 500 new cases of HIV were diagnosed, the highest rate since records began. Rates have been rising steadily since 2011, with the rate of new infections increasing significantly within the past two years.
The figures come at the same time that new research shows the life expectancy for young people with HIV in the western world is now as high as 76, helped by ever-improving treatments.
“Projections suggest that life expectancy of a 20-year-old who began treatment from 2008 onwards and had a low viral load after a year of treatment may approach that of the general population [about 78 years old],” the study published in The Lancet HIV journal this week states.
Newly released figures from Ireland’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) show that 512 people were diagnosed with the human immunodeficiency virus in 2016. Of these, 77 per cent were male and 23 per cent female.
However, over half of the new cases are people who were born outside of Ireland, but who came to Ireland in recent years. So far this year, there have been 183 new HIV cases. If this trend continues, 2017 will surpass last year’s figure.
Nearly half of the new HIV cases resulted from sex between men. Nearly a fifth came after heterosexual sex. Just 4 per cent of cases are reported from people who inject drugs.
However, the source of nearly a third of all of the cases – 31 per cent – recorded by the HPSC remained “unknown”, according to the HSE website.
A HSE spokeswoman said the rise was a cause for concern. It said that homosexuals from Latin America were a particularly high-risk group “some of whom are acquiring HIV in Ireland, and others who are coming to Ireland already infected with HIV”.
Part of the HSE response includes increased funding for screenings and working with the Gay Health Network to promote sexual health.
Niall Mulligan of HIV Ireland said the steady increase was “extremely concerning” but that some of the increase could be attributed to better detection procedures.
“There has been a steady increase over the last few years. Some of that is down to improved testing, so we are getting the numbers quicker.
“The other side is people are coming into Ireland, either students or coming from abroad to work. If they have already been diagnosed with HIV in the country they are coming from, they still have to go through HIV testing.”
Experts have also attributed the rise to an increase in unprotected sex in the gay community spurred by online dating apps such as Grindr and the use of recreational drugs during sex.
“I think there is definitely a scene which I suppose internationally would be described as the ‘chemsex’ scene. It’s the association of the use of chemical drugs with multiple sexual partners, group sex and unsafe sex,” Dr Des Crowley, addiction specialist at the Mountjoy Square Treatment Centre, said.
“Then I suppose within another sub-group of that is people who are choosing to have less safe sex. My own view is that people don’t really see HIV as being as serious a disease as previously.”
The new Lancet study states that, thanks to a variety of factors such as less-toxic treatment drugs and better adherence to treatment programmes, a 20-year-old man with HIV can expect to live to about 73 years of age while a woman can expect to live to about 76.
The study tracked 88,504 people with HIV from 18 European and North American cities who started antiretroviral treatment between 1996 and 2010.
Andrew Leavitt of the Dublin HIV/Aids activist group Act Up said that although some surveys showed condom use was dropping among homosexuals, it was overly simplistic to attribute the rise in HIV cases to ambivalence about the issue.
“Condom use isn’t necessarily the best proxy for what kind of risks people are taking. A lot of people understand that treatments which help people live longer also prevent transmission.
“There isn’t one single factor we can point to for increased HIV diagnoses,” Mr Leavitt said. “The idea that treatment is making people care less also ignores the fact the HIV is really heavily stigmatised, particularly in the gay community.”
Link to original article: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/record-numbers-of-people-diagnosed-with-hiv-1.3079987