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Beyond Prevention: Focusing on the needs of people living with HIV

by Noel Donnellon

In the last year we’ve seen some remarkable developments in Ireland’s response to the HIV crisis.For World AIDS Day 2018, the leaders of several political parties, as well as the Taoiseach took HIV tests to promote testing and to challenge stigma — a stark change from the same day in 2016 which passed without official comment.

In June of this year, representatives from four Irish cities joined the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health to sign on to the Fast-Track Cities initiative, pledging to develop local partnerships to support HIV prevention efforts and to combat HIV-related stigma and discrimination. And on November 4, a red-letter day in terms of HIV prevention in Ireland, we saw the official start of the long-awaited national PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) programme.

These steps forward are most welcome, with new HIV diagnoses continuing at record high levels. HIV is now recognised as a relevant and pressing issue for political leaders, and new resources (and funding) are finally being made available.

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