HIV Ireland advocates for all individuals living with HIV and vulnerable to acquiring HIV. Gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men (gbMSM) are disproportionately affected by HIV and so the MPOWER Programme has an important function in advocating for this community.
HIV Ireland advocates for the prevention of new HIV infections and to combat HIV-related stigma and discrimination. As our advocacy efforts grow we will add to this list and keep the community informed of our progress.
Examples of advocacy efforts specifically for gbMSM include:
The MPOWER Programme Manager represents HIV Ireland on a National Chemsex Working Group to address issues related to Chemsex amongst the gbMSM population and to produce harm reduction information and resources.
Organisations represented on the multi-disciplinary group include: HIV Ireland, the Gay Men’s Health Service, HSE-National Drug Treatment Centre, HSE- Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme, St. James’s Hospital, Department of Public Health, Social Inclusion and Vulnerable Group, BeLonG To Youth Services, and the Rialto Community Drugs Team.
In partnership with the Gay Men’s Health Service, the MPOWER Programme delivers education and training which aims to increase participants’ knowledge and awareness of Chemsex and issues related to this type of sex and drug use. Find out more about this training.
HSE National MSM Health Committee
The MPOWER Programme Manager represents HIV Ireland on the National MSM Health Committee. As a member of the committee we provide strategic advice and direction to support the work of the committee and advise on annual priorities for the work of the committee in line with resource allocation.
The purpose of the committee is to:
- Maintain a focus on sexual health among gbMSM.
- Offer strategic advice on planning and resourcing sexual health efforts for gbMSM.
- Monitor progress in the implementation of actions arising from the HSE MSM Action Plan and recommendations of the National Sexual Health Strategy.
PrEP Health Technology Assessment Expert Advisory Group
In August 2018, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) commenced work on a health technology assessment (HTA) of a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) programme for populations at substantial risk of sexual acquisition of HIV.
The MPOWER Programme Manager was a member of the Expert Advisory Group on PrEP and contributed on behalf of the community throughout the process. The HTA has now been published and advice to the Minister for Health on a PrEP Programme for Ireland has been sent.
We are committed to developing original research that highlights the needs and experiences of gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men. This is with the intention to inform the programme and its stakeholders of the appropriate action to take and policy changes to make to improve the sexual health and wellbeing of our community.