Eamon Ryan from the Green Party spoke in the Dáil to ensure the government prioritise the rollout of PrEP and funding rapid HIV testing
The Green Party’s Eamon Ryan spoke in the Dáil yesterday to press the government to make PrEP access a priority and to continue to fund the KnowNow Rapid HIV Testing initiative which launched this year.
On the Green Party Facebook page, a video of Ryan speaking was published along with the following statement:
“HIV has increased by 30% in one year alone in Ireland. Our rate of HIV infection of 10.6 per 100,000 is significantly above the EU average of 6.3 per 100,000.
“Today in the Dáil, Eamon Ryan pushed the Government to prioritise the rolling out pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), as well as funding ‘Know How’ rapid HIV testing and to commit to both measures as soon as possible to stem this crisis.”
In the video Ryan reminds the Dáil of the increase in HIV diagnoses in Ireland
“We’re looking to role this [rapid HIV testing] out on a more permanent basis, a full time secure basis in 2017. We’re not that far away from the new year,” Ryan said.
“I don’t know if you could in your further reply indicate whether the decisions in this regard would be taken before the end of this year or what sort of timelines that it is intended.”
Ryan recognised the importance of other measures which the government can implement to help reduce the HIV crisis that Ireland is currently suffering.
However, Ryan persisted, indicating that PrEP and rapid HIV testing can help reduce the scale of the HIV crisis in Ireland.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
“As you outlined in your response, obviously there is whole variety of other issues in terms of promoting condom use and other sexual health education measures that need to take place.
“But the scale of the crisis, as you indicate, with 480 people contracting it, is not a small issue, and [it is] one which could very rapidly increase if we don’t stem it at the earliest stage,” he said.
“That’s the advantage of the two measures I’ve set out in particular.”
Ryan said that “prevention is better than cure”, with the advantage of providing PrEP being twofold.
First, it would dramatically increase the quality of life of those who are protected from contracting HIV, and second, the cost incurred by treating an HIV-positive person over the course of their lifetime would be saved.
PrEP is not yet available in Ireland, with an approval process for the drug, including clinical trials, to be undertaken. When taken once daily, PrEP is between 92% and 99% effective at preventing HIV transmission.
Ryan continued to push for a decision on these measures within the coming weeks so that those working in the area might be able to plan accordingly for 2017.
Ryan received the following response: “The HSE have said that the demonstration project will commence later this year, [or] early 2017, so there is certainly a pressure on to achieve this.”
On World Aids Day 2016, Act Up Dublin protested outside the Department of Health to sound the alarm and rouse the Irish government into action regarding the HIV crisis.
Watch the video posted by The Green Party of Eamon Ryan below: