State sexual-health strategy due

 

A national sexual health strategy is due to be presented to Government before the end of this year, according to Minister of State for Health Róisín Shortall.

Speaking at the unveiling of the Dublin Aids Alliance (DAA) Just Carry One social media campaign at the Mansion House today, Ms Shortall said: “The Department of Health have set up a steering group who are currently working on developing a national sexual health strategy to be presented to Government by the end of this year.

“I welcome the fact that this steering group is now in place, and think that it is a good thing they are working to such a tight time scale.”

The Minister expressed concerned about figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) that showed there were 320 HIV cases last year and 12,000 sexually transmitted infections (STI) cases in 2010.

“There is no reason for complacency in this area. This figure is far too high and is even likely to be significantly lower than the actual number of cases. This presents a big challenge to the Government and NGOs.

"We have so much ground to make up for in all areas of activity - prevention, surveillance and treatment of STIs. The data we have at the moment is very underdeveloped, and our services are underdeveloped also. But we will rise to this challenge and tackle the problem in a number of effective ways,” the Minister said.

The Dublin Aids Alliance campaign was formally announced by Ms Shortall as part of Irish Aids Day and will last until the end of September. The Minister became chairwoman of the National Aids Strategy Committee last year.

The campaign seeks to promote condom use among young people via social media, and is supported by SpunOut.ie.

People can interact with the Just Carry One campaign via their Facebook page - www.facebook.com/justcarry - or by using their Twitter hashtag: #justcarryone.