Press Release: Roll out of PrEP programme a ‘gamechanger’ but not a panacea for HIV, advocacy group warns
4th November 2019
“The introduction of a free PrEP programme is a significant ‘gamechanger’ for at-risk communities but not a panacea in reducing the spread of HIV” warns Stephen O’Hare, newly appointed Executive Director of HIV Ireland.
Speaking on the first day of the phased roll out of a free drug-based HIV prevention programme [4 November 2019], O’Hare welcomed the initiative by the Minister for Health as evidence that the Government had “honoured its commitment to enhancing preventive measures to combat the spread of HIV” but cautioned that “no one measure will, by itself, halt the upward trend in new infections seen in Ireland over the past few years.”
Recalling the organisation’s #5Asks campaign presented to members of the Oireachtas in 2018, O’Hare commented that “increased investment in a range of existing and innovative measures is further required if we are to make meaningful progress in reversing the upward trend of new infections and set Ireland on course towards significant reduction in sexually transmitted HIV.”
“Such measures, as highlighted by HIV Ireland and partner organisations throughout the country, must include greater investment in both health and community-based testing services which are currently bursting at the seams,” said O’Hare. “Similarly, increased public awareness of HIV and related stigma, and more resources for counselling and community support services are urgently required to meet demand,” he added.
Referring to the commitment by Government to invest €5.4M in the national roll out of the PrEP programme in 2020 targeting eligible candidates from at-risk populations, O’Hare said “The Minister for Health and the Government are to be congratulated on keeping their promises to institute this ground-breaking approach to prevention.”
“However, the continued sustainability of the full roll out of the programme in 2020 and beyond, together with meaningful progress on Fast-Track Cities and other stated commitments concerning prevention and treatment of HIV, will be key determinants of success going forward and must be prioritised in future resource allocation,” he added.
For more information or to arrange an interview contact:
Stephen O’Hare, Executive Director HIV Ireland
Tel: 085 7112635
Notes for Editors:
- On the 10 October 2019, the Government announced the phased introduction of a drug-based HIV prevention programme through the free provision of PrEP for eligible candidates from at risk populations. The measure is supported by funding of €5.4 million identified in Budget 2020, enabling the full roll out of the programme in 2020.
- About PrEP.