It’s great to be able to talk about the latest very positive news from the Department of Health – not only has a significant amount of the recent Health Transformation Fund been allocated to Sexual Health, but specifically it means that a new £450,000 HIV prevention pilot programme will be rolled out.
As part of that pilot project, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) will now at last be made available in Northern Ireland for those at high risk of exposure to HIV.
You’ll know that Positive Life and others have been highlighting the unacceptable and comparatively higher levels of HIV in NI for many years now, so we’re delighted that the Department has used the transformation fund to target the issue.
We also welcome the fact that this is not simply PrEP on demand but that this will be one part of a range of services which includes information and education on safer sex, counselling and testing.
We know that HIV is indiscriminate and there’s a real opportunity through this type of pilot to empower people to take charge of their own sexual health and reduce the 100 plus instances of new HIV diagnoses each year in NI.
It’s good news that PrEP has now been added to the support tools to prevent the transmission of HIV.