HIV Ireland and USI team up to promote self-testing for HIV and STIs among students
Embargo – Monday 21 November 2022, 00.01am
A campaign promoting testing for HIV, hepatitis and other STIs aimed at students in further and higher education, has been launched today. The initiative, which coincides with the EU- wide European Testing Week (21st – 28th November) is a collaboration between HIV Ireland and the Union of Students of Ireland (USI) and builds on previous HIV prevention initiatives aimed at young LGBTI+ people.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Executive Director of HIV Ireland Stephen O’Hare said:
“For the past two years, opportunities to promote HIV testing and awareness have been extremely limited in further and higher education settings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the return to campus life for many students this term coincides with a significant increase in the numbers of newly notified cases of HIV and STIs this year,” he said.
Speaking in advance of the launch, USI Vice President for Welfare Sarah Behan said:
“Regular testing is very much a key part of preventing new HIV acquisitions. With free HIV self-test services now available in Ireland, and additional tests being made available for European Testing Week, young people have more options to get tested. USI is delighted to partner with HIV Ireland to bring this important message to third-level students.”
To promote the increased uptake of testing during the week-long campaign, HIV Ireland is making additional self-test kits available through its dedicated MPOWER online ordering portal.
“Testing, including self-testing, can stop the spread of HIV and other STIs by identifying and treating cases before onward transmission can occur,” continued Mr O’Hare. “Self-testing is quick, easy and support is available for anyone who needs it,” he added.
The initiative is funded and supported by the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability Integration and Youth under the LGBTI+ Equality Strategy fund.
Notes for Editors
European Testing Week is a European campaign that encourages partner organisations — in community, health care and policy institutions — throughout Europe to unite for one week twice a year to increase testing efforts and promote awareness on the benefits of earlier hepatitis and HIV testing. This initiative has progressed since its start in 2013 and has grown to be a widely recognised European event with hundreds of organisations participating every year. What once started as an annual event has now become a biannual event with two ETWs occurring each year in Spring (May) and Autumn (November). Each organisation volunteers their own time to organise their Testing Week activities and create incredible displays of a united effort to increase testing awareness at all organisational levels. Now in its tenth year, the European Testing Week initiative will host the Spring and Autumn ETWs on the following dates: Spring ETW: 16 – 23 May 2022 Autumn ETW: 21 – 28 November 2022
MPOWER is a suite of peer-driven community-level interventions which aim to achieve a reduction in the acquisition of HIV and STIs and an overall improvement of sexual health and wellbeing among gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men (gbMSM). Self-test kits can be ordered daily at https://mpower.hivireland.ie Stocks are limited.
HSE Sexual Health – SH:24 Home Testing Service: to order an SH:24 Home Testing Kit visit www.sh24.ie
For interview and/or comment contact Stephen O’Hare Executive Director, HIV Ireland, 0857112635 email@example.com