Monday, March 18, 2019
I hope everyone had a great St. Patrick’s Day. Although St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated just about everywhere in the United States this little man (me) stayed home. Seeing as how it’s St Patrick’s Day I wanted to speak about the HIV rates in Ireland.
Even though the European Union stated that there has been a 20% decrease in HIV infection rates across Europe there is one country that has seen an increase.
The Irish Times reported that there has been an 8% increase of HIV infections in Ireland. In 2016, there were a reported 508 new HIV infections, in 2017 there were 492 but in 2018 the rate increase to 531. But that is not all. There was also a 7% increase in chlamydia, a 7% increase in gonorrhea and a 25% increase of Syphilis.
Local HIV activists have been reported saying that they are not surprised by the statistics. In Ireland, there seems to be a lack of accessibility for preventative measures. The Irish government’s delayed in providing state funding for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). Which, according to the CDC can prevent the risk of HIV transmission up to 96% Also, there has been a low rate of testing in the country.
I wonder if religion has anything to do with this. Ireland is split Northern Ireland is mostly Catholic and Southern Ireland is mostly Protestant. Does religion and the push of abstinence have anything to do with the sharp increase of HIV infections rates as well?