Yesterday the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) published a draft report on a health technology assessment of PrEP. As expected they have found that PrEP is a highly effective method of HIV prevention. The report concluded that,''The successful implementation of a national PrEP programme would be safe, effective and cost-saving over the medium to long term in Ireland.''
Minister for Health, Simon Harris and the Taoiseach have both tweeted their commitment to introducing a national programme, however no specific details have been given on when this will happen.
The report highlighted that staffing, infrastructure and investment were barriers to successful implementation.
This is unacceptable, funding and resources need to be increased significantly across the country to meet demand. Swift and meaningful political action is needed.
Please continue to sigh and share this petition to keep pressure on Simon Harris and the Government.
To: Simon Harris Minister for Health
Invest in HIV prevention.
Increase funding and resources for the prevention of HIV in Ireland.
Expand HIV testing to include every county.
Introduce a national PrEP programme.
Develop a strategy to educate the public on HIV with emphasis on the 'Know your status' and Undetectable equals Untransmittable (U=U) messages.
Why is this important?
Every 18 hours in 2018 someone tested positive for HIV in Ireland.
HIV infections reached a record high of 531 people in 2018.
This could have been avoided if there was adequate resources and funding to fully implement prevention methods such as easily accessible nationwide HIV testing and a national PrEP programme. These two measures are proven to reduce infection rates.
Antiretroviral Therapy is now so effective that when on treatment for HIV the virus is suppressed in a persons system so well they have a suppressed viral load. This means they cannot pass HIV to another person. Undetectable equals Untransmittable is a very important message which should be promoted and celebrated.
Ireland has become a very progressive and open society in the last number of years, however HIV positive people still face unwarranted stigma. This stigma has led to poor mental health and low self esteem.
The stigma that surrounds HIV is also a barrier to getting tested and seeking treatment.
Education is the key to undoing years of misinformation and stigma and will help HIV positive people lead ordinary lives free from discrimination.
We have the knowledge and methods to drastically reduce HIV infections, what we need now is political desire and commitment to make this a reality.