Today marked the announcement of a long-awaited PrEP programme in Ireland. PrEP will be provided as part of a holistic service that includes frequent monitoring for adherence and side effects, testing for HIV and other STIs, counselling and advice on safer sex practices.
In 2018, there were 531 new HIV diagnoses, the highest on record, and Ireland is currently at almost double the European average. The introduction of the PrEP programme, along with increased testing and greater awareness, is a significant step to reducing the number of people contracting HIV.
The Sexual Health Centre has been providing HIV care and support since its foundation in 1987. Services include free counselling to people living with or affected by HIV, as well as providing one-to-one and group support opportunities. The centre also coordinates a free Rapid HIV testing programme, delivered both at our centre and in outreach settings around Cork city and county.
“We’re delighted to see the Ministers for Health commit to delivering a HIV Prevention Programme in the Autumn. We look forward to supporting this implementation with the education, outreach and supports required”, said Phil Corcoran, Senior Health Promotion Officer and HIV Support Worker at the Sexual Health Centre.
Along with the recent news of Ireland joining the Fast Track cities initiative and introduction of the national awareness programme, we strongly believe that the new PrEP programme will bring Ireland one step closer to removing HIV stigma and improving the quality of life for people living with HIV.
To access our support services, support groups, free professional counselling for people living with or affected by HIV or free Rapid HIV testing, you can always ring our centre on 021 427 6676.