There were 512 newly detected cases of HIV in Ireland in 2016 according to a report from The Health Protection Surveillance Centre.
The figures show a rise of six per cent from last year. The reports are an indicator of the amount of cases notified or detected in Ireland for the first time, and do not necessarily reflect the incidences of HIV contraction in Ireland.
The report details the provisional findings of the The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) for the first two quarters of 2016.
The largest group affected by HIV are males from 30-39, as 43 per cent of new HIV diagnoses were within this age bracket. Those aged 29 years and younger had the second highest rate of 28 per cent.
In an email to Dublin City University students introducing free STI checks, Cody Byrne, Students’ Union Vice President for Welfare and Equality, said: “Everyone has an HIV status, it is on the rise and it is not a ‘gay man’s’ disease. Do get yourself checked”.
The free STI screenings on DCU campus only cover gonorrhea and chlamydia. For fuller, free services to test for HIV, Byrne recommended KnowNow. KnowNow is a free HIV testing initiative by the HSE with GLEN and GOSHH.
In his opening statement in a submission to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children in 2015, Executive Director of HIV Ireland Niall Mulligan said something which still holds true to the issue of HIV today.
“We must continually remind ourselves that as new HIV diagnoses increase in Ireland, the World Health Organisation estimates that 30% of people who are living with HIV don’t know they are. So the real HIV figure will be higher again. There can be many reasons for this including lack of access to testing, lack of awareness around HIV and the ongoing stigma attached to living with HIV,” Mulligan said.
The figures in the report follow from a significant increase in HIV in 2015, when 498 cases were detected in Ireland, a 33 per cent increase from 377 cases in 2014. This figure however arose from an outbreak of HIV among polydrug users in Dublin that year.
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