Press Release: HIV Ireland welcomes Government’s commitment to global ‘Fast-Track Cities’ initiative in response to Ireland’s growing HIV Crisis
DUBLIN, Ireland, 13th June 2019
HIV Ireland has been to the forefront of Ireland’s response to HIV since 1987, influencing social policy and advocating for change. In 2019, as part of our #5Asks campaign, we have been calling on the Irish Government to sign up to the international ‘Fast-Track Cities’ initiative to help accelerate the response to Ireland’s HIV crisis, including investing in HIV prevention services and a PrEP programme for Ireland, increasing resources to expand HIV testing in clinical and community settings, resourcing supports for people living with HIV, and public awareness initiatives including the U=U campaign to combat HIV-related stigma.
HIV Ireland welcomes the announcement by An Taoiseach, and the Ministers for Health, that Ireland will join other international signatories to the Fast-Track Cities initiative and, importantly, will commit €450,000 funding to kick-start activities in support of the Fast-Track Cities initiative in Ireland. The Minister for Health has allocated this additional funding specifically for developments in community-based HIV testing and outreach services, as well as public campaigns on stigma reduction and promotion of a new PrEP programme later in 2019. We look forward to supporting these initiatives in Dublin and nationally.
With over 300 cities internationally involved, Niall Mulligan, Executive Director with HIV Ireland, welcomed the commitment being shown by the Irish Government to this initiative, stating ‘it is now time for Ireland to join forces with cities and regions across the globe as part of the Fast-Track Cities Initiative, in order to play a proactive role in combating the continuing HIV crisis, not only in Ireland, but globally’.
HIV continues to be a major health issue in Ireland, with a provisional figure of 528 new cases reported in 2018 (www.hpsc.ie). Professor Patrick Mallon, HIV Ireland Board Member and UCD Professor of Microbial Diseases and a Consultant at St. Vincent’s University Hospital, highlighted the urgent need ‘to prioritise the free availability of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis and increase the resourcing of HIV community-based education, testing and support services across Ireland. In doing so we can join our European neighbours who are finally seeing reductions in new HIV diagnoses with introduction of these measures’.
According to Mr. Mulligan, ‘With over 30 years of frontline experience behind us, HIV Ireland is a significant provider of innovative community-based HIV testing, counselling, and support for people living with HIV. Key to any response to HIV is the elimination of HIV-related stigma. We know that people living with HIV who are on effective treatment, and have an undetectable viral load, cannot pass the virus on to others. It’s now time to break down all barriers to HIV testing and treatment by tackling stigma and discrimination head on.’
For further information, please contact:
Executive Director, HIV Ireland
Mobile: 085 7457951
Tel: 01 8733799
Notes to the Editor:
- HIV Ireland is a registered charity operating at local, national and European level. The principle aim of HIV Ireland is to improve, through a range of services, conditions for people living with HIV.
- Fast-Track Cities – Ireland.
- www.iapac.org – International Association of Providers of AIDS Care.
- www.preventionaccess.org: U=U campaign