Minister Brady Launches the 8th Annual Gay Health Forum
Minister Áine Brady TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children and Chair of the National AIDS Strategy Committee, launched the 8th Annual All-Ireland Gay Health Forum in Dublin Castle today (Friday, 18th June).
In her opening address, the Minister noted that while overall there was a slight decrease in the number of new diagnoses of HIV in 2009, there was a 42% increase in the number of new cases among men who have sex with men. Young men appear to be a particularly vulnerable group, both to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Noting that the prevention message was successful in the past, the Minister stressed the need to identify the reasons that people are now engaging in risky behaviours and to deliver targeted prevention programs to address the situation. The Minister stated that “we must remain vigilant and not lapse into complacency when it comes to HIV prevention”.
On a positive note, the Minister marked the progress made by the HSE in the last year in recognising the particular health needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people. She also acknowledged the ongoing representation and contribution of the Gay Community and people living with HIV on the National AIDS Strategy Committee as work continues to oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the National AIDS Strategy 2000, as well as the emerging issues.
The conference was organised by the HSE Gay Men’s Health Service in partnership with the Gay Health Network, with the support of the Department of Health and Children. Its aim was to present an opportunity for those involved in HIV, AIDS, Sexual Health and other health related work with LGBT people to network, share and acknowledge their efforts in advancing the health and wellbeing of LGBT people in Ireland.