Is HIV still an issue in Ireland? Are there still new cases of this preventable infection? Most people in Ireland are unsure how to answer this question. However for the past few years we have had almost one new case per day in this country and this figure is rising significantly. Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (www.hpsc.ie) shows that in the first 15 weeks of 2014 there were 126 new cases of HIV. That’s a 50% increase on the same period last year. We are waiting to hear from the HPSC on the possible routes of transmission of these cases but we know that Men who have sex with Men and Heterosexual transmission continue to be areas of concern.
Recently Richard Carson, CEO of ACET Ireland, was among the first 12 HIV experts in Europe trained in Succeed, a quality improvement tool developed by Quality Action, the World Health Organisation approved agency tasked with improving quality in HIV-prevention across Europe. At the training Richard heard that “we will not treat our way out of the pandemic” – a statement that reflects that while we are delighted that treatment for HIV continues to improve, we need to continue to focus on prevention. Does the incidence of HIV in Ireland surprise you? How do you think we should respond? We would love to hear your comments.