THE HSE, in partnership with a number of Sexual Health Organisations around Ireland is providing free Rapid HIV Testing on 1st December to mark World AIDS Day 2016. World AIDS Day is held on the 1st December each year and is an opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV and to show their support for people living with HIV. GOSHH (Gender, Orientation, Sexual Health, HIV) in Limerick will be welcoming anyone who would like to take a Rapid HIV Test between 9.30am and 8.30pm on 1st December at GOSHH, Redwood Place, 18 Davis St, Limerick.
A Rapid HIV Test involves a fingertip prick which takes a small sample of blood and is applied to the test kit, the result is available in 60 seconds. If there is a ‘reactive’ result they will be referred to the hospital where a blood test will be taken to confirm this result.
In 2015, there were 485 new diagnoses of HIV in Ireland. This is an increase of 30% compared to 2014 figures. The increase was mainly seen in Dublin where an outbreak of HIV occurred among people who injected drugs, and reporting changes meant that more cases were detected in 2015. In addition there was an increase in diagnoses among men who have sex with men (MSM).
The latest figures on HIV new diagnoses in 2016 indicate ongoing high numbers of new diagnoses with 436 cases notified this year up to early November. Additionally the World Health Organisation estimates that one third of people who are HIV Positive are not aware that they are living with HIV.
According to Ann Mason, Manager at GOSHH, “Promoting condom use and regular testing remain key to reducing the spread of HIV and STIs among those who are sexually active. Being diagnosed with HIV today means something very different than it did 20 or 30 years ago. HIV is no longer a death sentence. However the stigma associated with HIV can act as a barrier to accessing testing services. HIV testing is available at a range of clinics and community based centres and I would encourage those at risk to avail of these services.”
Source: Limerick Post http://www.limerickpost.ie/2016/11/24/free-rapid-hiv-testing-available-limerick-december-1/