Jack Quann
Jack Quann

12.11 3 Oct 2019


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The vast majority of men living with HIV in Ireland are engaged in care and on treatment, according to a new study.

The Men who have Sex with Men Internet Survey 2017 also found that 97% of these men had an undetectable viral load, and cannot transmit HIV.

Overall, 7% of respondents to the survey were living with HIV.

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The report presents information from 2,083 gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men who responded to an online survey about their sexual health and wellbeing.

The study is part of an international online behavioural surveillance survey, designed to generate data useful for planning HIV and STI prevention and care.

The Irish report was led by the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), in partnership with the Gay Health Network (GHN) and was supported by the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme.

Launching the survey report, Minister of State Catherine Byrne said: "I welcome the publication of this important survey and I want to thank all of those men who took part.

"The information they have provided is key to informing our continued work and improvements in the area of sexual health.

"Some of the key findings of this report show where more work is needed but there is also good news.

"The report found that there is a higher than average usage and awareness of PrEP in Ireland compared to the European average.

"This is very encouraging as we prepare for the introduction of the PrEP programme in Ireland.

"Working in partnership with the Gay Health Network and the HSE, we will continue to promote positive sexual health and wellbeing across all communities."

Dr Fiona Lyons is a consultant in HIV medicine at St James's Hospital.

She said: "This is very welcome as it shows that the vast majority of men who reported that they are living with HIV are on effective treatment.

"In Ireland, it is recommended that everyone diagnosed with HIV starts treatment as soon as possible.

"Effective and timely HIV treatment keeps people with HIV healthy and prevents transmission to other."

The study also finds the proportion of men testing for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) has been increasing in recent years.

However, 23% of men who have sex with men have never tested for HIV - rising to 47% in those aged between 17 and 24.

Dr Derval Igoe of the HPSC said: "A sustained focus on reducing HIV stigma, on highlighting the benefits to the individual and the population in knowing your HIV status and on expanding options and opportunities for testing are all required".


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Catherine Byrne Dr Derval Igoe Dr Fiona Lyons Effective Treatment Gay Health Network HIV HIV In Ireland HPSC MSM Men Who Have Sex With Men Internet Survey Online Survey PrEP STI Prevention

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