Concern over new HIV cases
Madam, – We refer to the recently published article (“New HIV cases at lowest in decade”, June 16th) identifying a reduction in newly reported cases of HIV/AIDS in 2010 (HPSC report on HIV Infection in Ireland 2010). The headline of this article may be misleading to your readers and does not fully reflect the current situation regarding new HIV infections in Ireland.
While there has been an overall reduction in the total number of reported new cases of HIV infection in recent years, this reflects the reduction in persons entering Ireland from countries of high prevalence for HIV infection, and the number of women from these countries presenting for HIV testing in antenatal care.
Of significant concern is the continued rise of new HIV cases in men who have sex with men, who now represent the majority of new cases of HIV infection in Ireland. In fact new cases of HIV infection in this group have doubled since 2005. It is imperative that the risk of HIV infection secondary to unprotected sexual contact is not forgotten.
Targeted and sustained interventions including education, access to screening and testing and a re-focus on public health awareness about HIV infection are urgently required. – Yours, etc,