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Coffee cups in Dublin are going to urge people to get tested for HIV

To date in 2015, 411 new HIV infections have been detected in Ireland – an increase on last year.

Image: Shutterstock/Boumen Japet

IF YOU BUY coffee in a Dublin café this week you might notice a sleeve with a difference on your cup.

Some 10,000 sleeves promoting HIV testing are set to be distributed to coffee shops throughout the city as part of the European HIV and Hepatitis Testing Week, which runs from 20-27 November.

The UCD HIV Molecular Research Group (HMRG) and HIV Ireland have designed the sleeves to encourage people in Dublin to get a HIV test.

To date in 2015 in Ireland, 411 new HIV infections have been detected – in comparison to a total of 377 in 2014. This equates to a 9% increase in new infections so far this year compared to all of last year.

hiv The sleeve Source: UCD

Dr Patrick Mallon, head of UCD HIV HMRG, said: “Innovative health promotion campaigns such as this one which the UCD HIV Molecular Research Group is rolling out in partnership with HIV Ireland are designed to reiterate the importance of HIV testing.”

Rapid testing

The Department of Health has recently provided funding to the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (Glen) for a national rapid HIV testing pilot study.

A ‘rapid’ test involves a fingertip prick (or sometimes an oral swab), where a specimen is applied to the test kit. The result is available within about 20 minutes.

If there is a reactive result, a blood sample is taken and sent to the laboratory for a confirmatory test.

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In Ireland, the average age at diagnosis is 33 years, with 49% of new diagnoses reported in men who have sex with men.

Information about free HIV and STI testing centres throughout the country is available here.

Read: Leo Varadkar has called for an increase in HIV testing in Ireland

Read: St James’s Hospital to start testing all Emergency Department patients for HIV

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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