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Second phase of national HIV prevention plan is launched

Last update - Thursday, March 1, 2012, 15:06 By Metro Éireann

Last week saw the launch of the second phase of the National HIV Prevention and Sexual Awareness programme for gay men, launched by the HSE and the Gay Health Network (GHN).

Part of a year-long programme, this second phase promotes the availability of free HIV and STI testing services nationally and aims to encourage regular testing among gay and bisexual men, particularly among younger men and men living in rural areas.
Key messages of the programme were developed by a younger peer group facilitated by the BeLonG To youth service.
Speaking at the launch in Cavan town, Councillor McKiernan said it was “particularly welcome that the HSE is launching this phase of the programme in the border region, given the importance of supporting men in rural areas to access the health services they need.
Mick Quinlan of GHN and the Gay Men’s Health Service (GMHS) in Dublin said: “Testing is a fundamental part of preventing the transmission of HIV and STIs. If you are sexually active, it is important to get tested.”
He highlighted statistics that show some 85 per cent of males ages 15 to 19 and 50 per cent aged 20 to 24 have never been tested. Around half of all men living outside Ireland’s major urban centres have also never tested for STIs.
“The GMHS clinic is a busy and critical service,” said Quinlan. “Nearly one in five men attending GMHS live outside Dublin city and county. This further indicates the ongoing need for targeted interventions to promote and increase access to encourage younger men and men living in rural areas to test for HIV.”
Dr Nazih Eldin added that the HSE has recently opened a sexual health clinic in Monaghan General Hospital, providing access to these services locally in Cavan and Monaghan, with a second now open at Louth County Hospital.
And according to Diane Nurse of HSE Social Inclusion, the programme is also responsive to “the rich ethnic and cultural diversity” of gay men in Ireland.
A short online video ( complements the second phase of the campaign. For more in the programme visit or

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