I am delighted to finally announce that I will be working with Teva Ireland over the coming weeks to increase awareness of HIV and the prevention medication PrEP.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a HIV prevention medication that has been shown, in conjunction with safe sex practices, to significantly reduce the risk of HIV infection through sex, particularly for those deemed at risk, such as gay and bisexual men, and transgender women, but also for heterosexual men and women[i].
As a gay man living in Ireland, I fully understand the importance of educating yourself on safe sex practices and ways to protect yourself from contracting HIV. With HIV rates increasing yearly[ii] it’s becoming even more important to be aware of the risks and knowing how to prevent HIV infection.
Over the coming weeks, I’ll be guiding you to the best sources of information and resources available that will help educate you on the risks posed by HIV and the measures that you can take to protect your health and wellbeing. Teva Ireland and I hope that by sharing information and resources, it’ll help people make better informed choices, which will ultimately help to reduce the risk of HIV going forward.
From working with Teva Ireland over the last number of months on this campaign, I’ve learned that in 2018, more than 7,200[iii] people were living with HIV in Ireland. With 523 new diagnoses in 2018, this is an 8% increase on the previous year[iv]. This is quite a shocking figure but what’s even more worrying is that the results from consumer research with 1,000 Irish adults, commissioned by Teva Pharmaceuticals Ireland, found that 1 in 5 people are unaware of any preventative methods for HIV (including condoms) and only 2% of people were aware of PrEP. Another finding was that 65% of Irish adults still believe that HIV is a sensitive subject but 97%[v] believe there needs to be more information on it.
The lack of awareness of PrEP is a concern, but it’s also good to see that there are many people open to learning more about HIV and how to prevent it. It’s clear that we need more educational supports on HIV prevention methods and information on how people can access them.
Over the course of the next few weeks I’ll be posting more on PrEPLoveLife.ie and across my social media channels, talking to young people about HIV and the importance of prevention. I hope you all tune in and let me know your thoughts on the topic over the coming weeks.
[ii] HIV Ireland, ‘Record numbers of people diagnosed with HIV’ https://www.hivireland.ie/record-numbers-of-people-diagnosed-with-hiv/
[iii] HPSC, Epi Insight Volume 20, Issue 11, ‘Latest HIV estimates in Ireland’ http://ndsc.newsweaver.ie/epiinsight/1jxntqxmx1hlu1tx9m384j?email=true&a=2&p=55896974&t=17517804
[iv] HSE, Annual Epidemiological Report, HIV in Ireland, 2018 https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/hivandaids/hivdataandreports/HIV_2018_final.pdf
[v] Core Research, conducted on behalf of Teva Pharmaceuticals Ireland, October 2019