HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme Officially Opened

The Minister for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, has officially opened Ireland's first HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme conference, marking the first year of the National Sexual Health Strategy (2015-2020), Ireland's first national strategy for sexual health and wellbeing.

A main area of focus for the HSE and partners during 2016 has been how to address the increasing rates of sexually transmitted infections and HIV among MSM.

Speaking at the event, Minister Corcoran Kennedy said: "The increases in sexually transmitted infections and HIV, particularly among men who have sex with men, is cause for concern and we know that late diagnosis of HIV remains a problem.

"At the launch of the strategy last year, my Department provided funding to pilot a peer-led, point of care HIV-testing initiative in pubs and clubs. This pilot has had considerable success in identifying new cases of HIV.

"As we all know, earlier diagnosis of HIV allows for timely initiation of treatment which confers significant benefits on the individual living with HIV and reduces transmission within the population. The HSE is currently reviewing how this method of testing might be further rolled out in 2017."

Dr Stephanie O'Keeffe, National Director, Health and Wellbeing, HSE, also said: "The National Sexual Health Strategy was developed in response to the need to establish clear leadership within the health sector in the area of sexual health.

"The HSE has made significant progress this year on implementing the strategy with the aim of reducing STIs and crisis pregnancy and improving access to sexual health information, education and services."


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