Sinn Féin leader supports ‘Know Your Status’ HIV Ireland World Aids Day Initiative

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald today joined with leaders across the political spectrum to demonstrate how easy taking a HIV test can be and that there should no stigma attached to taking the test.

The global theme for this year’s World Aids Day (December 1st) is ‘Know Your Status’. With the number of new HIV diagnoses set to reach an all-time high in Ireland HIV Ireland have today launched a ‘5 Key Asks’ document outlining the actions required from Government to reverse the current upward trend in new HIV diagnoses.

Speaking after the ‘Know Your Status’ event in Leinster House, the Dublin Central TD said:

“Ireland is set to experience the highest number of new HIV diagnoses on record.

“Taking a HIV test is a big step but the reality is that HIV affects us all regardless of gender, sexuality or age. Early diagnosis means earlier access to effective treatments. These treatments can reduce the virus in the body to undetectable levels meaning HIV cannot be passed on to someone else.

“Government has a critical role to play in adequately funding HIV prevention services. PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) must be made available through the HSE on the basis of need and not ability to pay.

“My colleague Senator Fintan Warfield has called for the provision of clinical supports for PrEP users as well as improvements for overall access to free contraceptives and rapid HIV testing.

“LGBT visibility in public sexual health campaigns must be increased, and a referral network of GPs who are LGBTQI friendly who have undertaken training on LGBTQI issues needs to be made available to service users.

“HIV Ireland and their partners are to be commended for the important work they do. It is vital that they be provided with the public funding and policy supports to meet the objectives of their 5 Key Asks document launched today.”