Highest rate of HIV diagnoses in Republic recorded in 2015

Figures from HSE show HIV positive rate was almost twice that of other EU states

The outbreak of HIV among people who inject drugs was associated with the prevalence of the psychoactive substance snow blow, the re-use of needles and syringes, and having a sexual partner who was also injecting drugs.  Photograph: Julien Behal/PA

The outbreak of HIV among people who inject drugs was associated with the prevalence of the psychoactive substance snow blow, the re-use of needles and syringes, and having a sexual partner who was also injecting drugs. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA

 

The rate of HIV diagnoses in the Republic last year was the highest ever recorded and almost twice that of other EU states, figures from the Health Service Executive show.

There were 485 people newly recorded as having the virus, a rate of 10.6 per 100,000. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reported a rate of 5.9 per 100,000 in 2014 – the latest available – for the EU and European Economic Area.

Between 2010 and 2014, HIV diagnosis rates in the Republic were stable but rose by 30 per cent between 2014 and 2015. This increase was mainly confined to the HSE East area where a 38 per cent increase was seen.

A number of factors contributed, including an improvement in the way data is collected, an outbreak of HIV among people who inject drugs, and a rise in diagnoses among migrant men who have sex with other men.

Male transmission

Sex between men was the main cause of HIV transmission in Ireland in 2015 and accounted for just over half of diagnoses. Twenty nine per cent were previously diagnosed as positive abroad.

There was a large increase in diagnoses in men who have sex with men between 2014 and 2015, particularly among those from Latin America.

The outbreak among people who inject drugs was associated with the prevalence of the psychoactive substance snow blow, the re-use of needles and syringes, and having a sexual partner who was also injecting drugs.

Since the early 1980s, 7,838 people have been newly diagnosed with HIV in the Republic. However, this number does not include those living with HIV or factors such as death and migration.