THE importance of people taking a HIV test to “know their status” has been highlighted across the island of Ireland this week.
8,341 people have been diagnosed with HIV in Ireland since the early 1980s, while the Public Health Agency (PHA) say that there are 1,073 people in Northern Ireland living with HIV.
The HSE launched a campaign urging people to check their status.
Helen Deely, Programme Lead of the HSE’s Sexual Health & Crisis Pregnancy Programme said: “Ireland has made great progress where nearly nine out of ten people living with HIV know their status. There are a range of HIV testing options available including HIV testing in public STI clinics across the country, NGOs, student health services and a number of pubs and clubs in major cities. Some GPs also provide HIV testing and many pharmacies have HIV testing kits for purchase’’.
Meanwhile, Dr Claire Neill, Specialist Registrar with the PHA, said: “Many people living with HIV have no obvious signs or symptoms, so the only way of knowing if you have the virus is by taking a HIV test. It is important not to delay if you have put yourself at risk. Seek advice and take the test as soon as you can.”
For information, the symptoms of HIV and STIs and for details of Northern Ireland GUM clinics, visit www.sexualhealthni.info
For more information on public STI clinics in the Republic of Ireland, log onto www.sexualwellbeing.ie/sexual-health/hse-sti-services-in-ireland.html