HIV diagnoses in Ireland

The news emerging out of Ireland this week regarding diagnoses rates surpassing that of the 80s and 90s comes shockingly, especially as we are in the era of U=U.

We could speculate several reasons for this but without further study of demographics it would be just that, speculation instead we would like to put forward a couple of solutions, the first being PrEP.

If ever there was evidence of the need for a national roll out of the HIV prevention pill this is it. It also must be made available for free, just like most other contraception mechanisms are because the ongoing cost, however little brings an inequality and an injustice to those who at times can barely afford to put food in their cupboards.

The other suggestion is better access to free rapid HIV testing, particularly outside an urban setting along with physicians following the latest guidelines to initiate treatment as soon as possible after diagnosis. Clearly people are either unaware of their status or still have a detectable viral load when the opportunity for them to be undetectable exists, this benefits service users from a psychological perspective and wider society from the perspective that being undetectable makes it impossible for anyone to pass on HIV.

If we are to see a downward trend in these rates we must act now using the suggestions given in this blog or even something better otherwise things can always get worse.