DCU held a service on World Aids Day, Sunday, December 1st, to commemorate those whose lives have been affected by HIV and AIDS.
The service was held in Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel, on the DCU St Patricks Campus in Drumcondra.
This year, the theme for World AIDS Day was “Communities make the Difference.”
Despite increased awareness of measures to prevent the spread of HIV, 2019 has seen an increase in the number of new HIV diagnoses, compared to 2018.
There has been a total of 476 new diagnoses this year, 29 more than this stage last year.
The number of people living with HIV in Ireland is almost double that of the European average.
Only three countries, Ireland Iceland and Malta, have had an increase in the disease by 10 per cent or more between 2007 and 2017, according to HIV/Aids surveillance.
The disease continues to spread, despite the early stage introduction of the PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) HIV prevention programme. This programme has been implemented by the Government after a review of the drug showed it is highly effective in preventing HIV.
“HIV rates are still high, the figures are always tweaked slightly, but we’re still at a higher rate than last year,” said Noel Donnellon from group ACT UP Dublin.
“However the PrEP programme has just started now, it hasn’t gone to full roll-out yet, but some people clinically eligible in the program can take part, and we’re seeing good take-up, so the hope is that will eventually affect figures”, he said.
However, new research conducted on behalf of Teva Pharmaceuticals Ireland showed that 87 per cent of people had never heard of PrEP.
Almost 10,000 people having been diagnosed with AIDS in Ireland since the early 1980’s.
Author: Cian Dunne
Image credit: Free Photo Bank