TD says STI clinics are over capacity
A serious concern.
Fianna Fáil TD Stephen Donnelly has said the rollout of an important HIV-preventing drug (PrEP) will be undermined by Ireland's inability to manage numbers at STI clinics.
Speaking after The Red Ball, a charity fundraising event for HIV Ireland, Fianna Fáil health spokesperson Donnelly said: "No one disputes the power of PrEP but unless there is adequate STI screening services for the LGBT community, PrEP will not be as powerful as it should be.
"Only recently, I have been contacted by several gay men who were turned away from the Gay Men’s Health Service (GMHS), located on Baggot Street, due to a lack of capacity. This is an ongoing issue, and one which the staff in the clinic are doing their level best to manage."
GMHS is Ireland’s only dedicated statutory sexual health and wellbeing service for gay and bisexual men, men who have sex with men and the trans population.
"Put simply demand for the service is outstripping the existing capacity of the clinic," Donnelly said. "Over the last three years, the number of people presenting to the clinic for STI screening has nearly doubled from less than 6,000 to more than 11,000."
Provisional 2018 data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) revealed a 7% increase in sexually transmitted infections in Ireland when compared to 2017.
According to the report, syphilis infections were up 22%, while common bacterial sexually transmitted infections gonorrhoea and chlamydia were up 7%.
Two main groups were affected the most - young people (aged 15 to 24), and men who have sex with men (MSM).