Addressing and preventing HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is a priority area under the National Sexual Health Strategy.
The €450,00 funding referred to by the Deputy has been provided to support Ireland's participation in an international HIV initiative, Fast Track Cities, and to fund early implementation of relevant actions.
The HIV Fast Track Cities initiative is a global partnership between almost 300 cities in collaboration with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC) and was launched in Paris in 2014.
Ireland's participation in HIV Fast Track Cities was launched on 13th June, 2019, by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, Minister for Health, Simon Harris and Minister of State for Health Promotion, Catherine Byrne.
The €450,00 funding provided will kick start Ireland's participation in this initiative, which is intended to boost current HIV prevention and intervention work. The funding will support community HIV awareness and testing in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway, as well as a national stigma reduction campaign, to be delivered by the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme with HIV organisation partners in each city. In addition, a campaign to promote the forthcoming pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) programme for populations at substantial risk of sexual acquisition of HIV, will also be funded.
The community HIV testing programme will be expanded further and will incorporate other at risk populations, such as migrants. Across the four partners in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick being funded for rapid community HIV testing for at risk populations, the target is to conduct 3,250 tests in 2019.
The full breakdown of funding allocation is as follows:
- Community based HIV testing and outreach - Dublin (HIV Ireland) - €158,000
- Community based HIV testing - Cork (Sexual Health Centre) - €68,000
- Community based HIV testing -Galway (AIDS West) - €35,400
- Community based HIV testing - Limerick (Red Ribbon Project) - €38,500
- Monitoring of community based HIV testing by Health Protection Surveillance Centre - €40,000
- MSM (Men who have sex with men) - Outreach Service (Gay Men's Health Service) - €27,450
- Stigma reduction campaign - €50,000
- PrEP campaign - €32,000