Irish AIDS Day - Friday 15th June 2012
Irish AIDS Day, observed on June 15th every year is dedicated to raising awareness of HIV infection in Ireland. Latest data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) shows that there were 320 new HIV diagnoses in Ireland in 2011. The highest number of new diagnoses (136 cases; 42.5%) were among men who have sex with men (MSM) with 108 cases among heterosexuals (33.8%) and 16 cases (5.0%) among Injecting Drug Users (IDUs). Of particular concern was the number of individuals that were diagnosed at an advanced stage of infection. In 2011, of the 214 cases where CD4 count was reported, 51.9% presented at a late stage of infection (CD4 count of <350 cells/mm3) including 32.7% who were severely immune‐compromised at diagnosis (CD4 cell count <200cells/mm3). The proportion of those diagnosed late (<350 cells/mm3) was highest among IDUs (84.6%) and heterosexual males (69.8%). Early detection of HIV infection is vitally important and individuals who are diagnosed at an early stage in their infection are known to respond well to antiretroviral treatment, have improved health outcomes and are less likely to transmit the virus to others.
To mark Irish AIDS Day 2012, Open Heart House (Dublin), the Sexual Health Centre (Cork), AIDS West (Galway), Dublin AIDS Alliance (Dublin) and the Red Ribbon Project (Limerick) will launch their "Don’t Guess, Get Tested!" campaign which aims to raise awareness of the numbers of late presenters with HIV in Ireland and to encourage early HIV testing. Further information on planned events to mark Irish AIDS Day 2012 can be found at www.dublinaidsalliance.com and www.openhearthouse.com
The 2011 HIV Report from the HPSC can be accessed here.