June 14, 2012
Ahead of Irish AIDS Day on June 15, the Health Protection Surveillance Center has released new research showing that 30 percent of Ireland residents with HIV do not know they are infected. "The public needs to know that by avoiding early HIV testing, you put yourself at risk of rapid disease progression," said Dr. Jack Lambert, infectious-disease consultant at Mater Hospital. Since the early 1980s, 6,287 people in Ireland have been diagnosed with HIV. The overall HIV diagnosis rate dipped by 3 percent in 2011, but more than half of the 320 people testing positive presented late in the course of their disease. Among the 85 women diagnosed with HIV, 27 percent were pregnant. Men who have sex with men represented the largest proportion of new patients (42.5 percent), while one-third were heterosexual men and women, and 5 percent were injecting drug users. A new campaign, "Don't Guess, Get Tested," will be launched Friday by Open Heart House, the Sexual Health Center, AIDS West, Dublin AIDS Alliance and the Red Ribbon Project.