herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Mansion House to go red for AIDS Day

Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke
Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke

THE Mansion House will glow red on Monday to mark World AIDS Day as the number of HIV cases diagnosed in Ireland continues to increase.

The residence of Lord Mayor Christy Burke will be one of hundreds of public buildings around the world to be lit up to commemorate the annual event.

In the first half of this year, there have been 205 people newly diagnosed with HIV in Ireland, according to the HSE.

Of these people, 23 were also handed a concurrent AIDS diagnosis.

This marks the highest number of new cases in a six-month period since 2009.

According to the latest report by the HSE's Protection Surveillance Centre, almost three quarters of those newly diagnosed with the virus were male. The average age of HIV patients is 34 but two people under the age of 14 also tested positive in the first half of this year.

There was just one case of mother-to-baby transmission of the virus in the country between January and May.

Many people living with HIV in Ireland reside in the Eastern region and Dublin city and county. On Monday, Mr Burke will launch a new booklet aimed at encouraging conversations around HIV and AIDS in Ireland.

The pamphlet called HIV - Our Responsibilities has been compiled by Positive Now, a group representing HIV patients in Ireland.

"In my term as Lord Mayor, I believe this is a very significant issue we need to bring awareness to in order to educate a new generation on living safer, sexually healthy lives," Mr Burke said.

"Most importantly, we need to stamp out the stigma that still exists around HIV, a stigma that is no longer acceptable in our modern society," he added.

Around the world there are around 33 million people who have been diagnosed with the HSE virus. According to Positive Now, stigma around HIV is still a problem in Ireland for those who contract the virus.

"People living with HIV do not want to be seen as victims. Society must come to an understanding that people living with HIV are not a threat," the group said.

hnews@herald.ie

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