ACT UP Dublin at the Department of Health

This morning members of ACT UP Dublin gathered at the offices of the Department of Health in Hawkins House with a giant alarm clock to wake the public to Ireland’s HIV crisis. We want to rouse government, community stakeholders, and the public at large into action to address the ongoing epidemic.

This World AIDS Day we are changing the conversation, and drawing attention to the political dimensions of the epidemic. New HIV diagnoses are at an all-time high in Ireland and the government response is falling short.

We in the community are ready for new prevention options like PrEP. Further delay on PrEP will result in avoidable new transmissions. It’s time for all of us to break the silence and demand an effective response.

Our press release can be downloaded as a pdf here. The full text follows a few pics we took…

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:    act.up.dublin@gmail.com
www.actupdublin.com

WORLD AIDS DAY 2016: IRISH GOVERNMENT MUST DO MORE TO COMBAT THE EPIDEMIC

NOVEMBER 30, 10:00am , Hawkins House

On the eve of World AIDS Day, ACT UP Dublin is sounding an alarm to government, community stakeholders, and the public: Ireland is in the midst of an HIV crisis.

This morning in front of the Department of Health Offices at Hawkins House, ACT UP is installing an alarm clock to wake Ireland’s dormant institutions to the need for a renewed effort to address the expanding epidemic.

Thanks to advances in treatment and prevention, government has powerful new ways to reduce new HIV transmissions.  ACT UP calls on authorities to do more than offer words.  Government should devote greater resources, and take effective actions, to address the epidemic.

FACTS:

– In 2015, Ireland recorded the highest number of new HIV diagnoses ever in the history of the epidemic.  Gay and bisexual men are particularly affected, now constituting over half of new diagnoses. Even accounting for those previously diagnosed elsewhere, new diagnoses in the LGBT community have been increasing for over a decade.

– More people in Ireland are living with HIV than ever before.  Yet government and community organisations are not doing enough to meet our ongoing needs.

– Ireland’s public spending on HIV prevention is inadequate and lags behind peer countries.

– Government delay in making Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) available will result in entirely avoidable HIV infections.

– Government must adopt a comprehensive and coordinated HIV strategy that links clinical and community efforts to halt transmission of HIV and to care for those with the disease.

– Government should permanently fund community-based HIV rapid testing (Know Now) and increase funding for our overburdened existing sexual health services.

– Government should bring health surveillance efforts up to par with peer countries.

What is ACT UP?

ACT UP Dublin is a local chapter of ACT UP, The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, an international HIV activist organisation. ACT UP Dublin was founded in July 2016 to take action on Ireland’s HIV crisis. We seek a more urgent and effective response to HIV from government authorities, community organisations, and the public at large.

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Press Release-Community forum on PrEP

You can download a pdf of the press release for our upcoming community forum on PrEP here:
ACT UP PrEP forum press release

The full text of the release also appears below.

The Facebook event page can be found here.

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: act.up.dublin@gmail.com

COMMUNITY FORUM ON HIV PREVENTION & PRE-EXPOSURE PROPHYLAXIS (PrEP)

NOVEMBER 10, 7PM, COBBLESTONE (SMITHFIELD)

ACT UP Dublin will present a community forum about pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV—more commonly known as PrEP—this Thursday, November 10 at 7PM. The forum is intended to spark community discussion about HIV prevention and to encourage community involvement in Ireland’s HIV crisis. More people were diagnosed with HIV in Ireland in 2015 than ever before.

The event will feature short informational talks about PrEP, followed by a substantial period of questions and commentary from members of affected communities. Dr. Paddy Mallon, from the HIV Molecular Research Group (UCD), will speak on medical and scientific aspects of PrEP, including future research that will be conducted in Ireland.

The discussion will be moderated by Dónal Mullligan, lecturer in the School of Communications at DCU.

What is PrEP?
PrEP is a safe and highly effective way for people who are HIV-negative to prevent HIV by taking a single daily pill. The pill, with the brand name Truvada, has been approved for use in HIV prevention in eight countries around the world. It received marketing authorisation from the European Medicines Agency in August.

When used as directed, PrEP provides nearly complete protection from HIV. The World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control, and UNAIDS all recommend that PrEP should be available to people at substantial risk for HIV.

Irish authorities, under the aegis of the National Sexual Health Strategy (2015), are currently assessing whether, when, and how to make PrEP accessible in Ireland.

What is ACT UP?
ACT UP Dublin is a local chapter of ACT UP, The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, an international HIV activist organisation. ACT UP Dublin was founded in July 2016 to take action on Ireland’s HIV crisis. We seek a more urgent and effective response to HIV from government authorities and community organisations.

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PrEP in the Wild

PrEP is only approved and widely available in a few countries around the world, but people are finding ways to access it on their own. The “PrEP in the Wild” survey is trying to learn more about people’s experiences around the world. The survey is still open, but some preliminary results were presented at the HIV Research for Prevention conference in Chicago earlier this week. Aidsmap has a report:

An increasing number of gay men and others at risk of HIV are seeking to protect their health with PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), but the lack of PrEP provision and lack of regulatory approval in many countries is leading people to take PrEP without medical supervision and on an ad-hoc basis. This will undermine the safety and effectiveness of PrEP, Jerome Galea said as he presented results of the PrEP in the Wild survey to the HIV Research for Prevention (HIVR4P 2016) conference in Chicago yesterday.

“The official authorities are playing catch up and failing in their duty to protect public health,” commented the authors of a separate report on PrEP Access in Europe.

Have you used PrEP ‘in the wild’? We’d love to hear from you! If you’d be willing to share your story please get in touch with us.

You can reach us with a message to our Facebook page, or by email at act.up.dublin@gmail.com. We’ll keep your details private and will not make any identifying information public.

Community forum on PrEP

We’re excited to be hosting “PrEP: the pill that can prevent HIV”, a community forum about pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV (PrEP) on Thursday, November 10th, at the Cobblestone in Smithfield. The event will run from 7 to 9pm, with doors opening at 6:30. The event is free and open to anyone who is interested in learning more about PrEP.

The evening will begin with brief presentations on PrEP, followed by an open discussion. Attendees can ask questions and learn more about how PrEP works, what the obstacles to getting access here are, and how they can get involved in making it available in Ireland.

We’re very fortunate to have Dr. Paddy Mallon to present on the science behind PrEP and to talk about the medical aspects of this new HIV prevention method. As well as being a consultant working in HIV care, Dr. Mallon is head of the internationally-recognised HIV Molecular Research Group at UCD. His research has covered a range of HIV-related areas including long-term effects of antiretroviral treatment and expanding access to HIV testing.

We’ll be posting additional information over the next few weeks here and on the Facebook event page. We encourage people to submit questions or let us know about specific issues that they’d like to know more about either through our Facebook page or by email at act.up.dublin@gmail.com.

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Next meeting this Tuesday, October 4th

Our next regular meeting will be this coming Tuesday, October 4th. Usual time and place: 6:30pm in HIV Ireland’s offices at 70 Eccles Street, Dublin 7 (across the street from the Mater Private hospital).

We’ve got several projects underway that we’d love help with, and are always open to new ideas and proposals. Come on down and join us!

Next General Meeting Aug 16

Our next general meeting will be Tuesday, August 16th. We’ll meet at the usual time and place: 6:30pm at the offices of HIV Ireland at 70 Eccles St., Dublin 7 (across the street from the Mater Private Hospital).

We will be discussing specific actions we want to pursue in the coming weeks and months. Bring your ideas and energy!

As always, this meeting is open to all. Please feel free to share our event page on Facebook.

Film screening: United in Anger

Some of us from ACT UP Dublin will be screening the documentary “United in Anger: A History of ACT UP” on Thursday the 4th of August. The screening will be followed by a discussion of HIV activism in the past and in the context of the HIV crisis in Ireland today.

The event runs from 7 to 10 pm and will be held at the Violet Gibson social centre at the Grangegorman squat.

If you can’t make the screening, the entire film can also be viewed on online here.

You can find the Facebook event page here.

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We are ACT UP Dublin

ACT UP is the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power.

We are a diverse, non-partisan group of individuals united in anger and committed to direct action to end the HIV/AIDS crisis.

We have regular meetings at 6:30pm on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month. We meet at the offices of HIV Ireland, located at 70 Eccles Street, Dublin 7 across from the Mater Private Hospital.

Our meetings are open to all. If you’re interested in getting in involved but can’t make it to a meeting please get in touch  with us.

This page is not regularly updated so please visit our Facebook page for announcements about current activities and events.