Minister Wallace launches the HIV and AIDS Education and Prevention Plan 2008 – 2012
Ms Mary Wallace T.D., Minister for Health Promotion and Food Safety, today (17 June 2008) launched the HIV and AIDS Education and Prevention Plan 2008 – 2012 presented by the Education and Prevention Sub-Committee of the National AIDS Strategy Committee.
The Minister was pleased to mark Irish AIDS Day (June 15th) with the launch of this action plan which demonstrates the commitment of all key stakeholders to continuing and enhancing efforts to prevent HIV and AIDS. The Minister drew attention to the recent figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre which report a continuing increase in the number of new HIV infections in 2007. Speaking at the launch the Minister said that ‘the HIV and AIDS Education and Prevention Plan is both timely and necessary. HIV is a preventable disease and this plan gives clear guidance on how the Irish system should progress its prevention efforts’.
The plan places a high priority on encouraging HIV testing for all target groups at risk of HIV and maintaining on-going education and awareness campaigns to prevent complacency and ensure accurate information is available to the public. The role of civil society groups in working within communities to deliver relevant educational messages is recognised in the plan. Dr. Nazih Eldin commented that ‘delivering clear and unambiguous messages on HIV Prevention and safe sex is essential to protect public health. It is my wish as Chair of the Education and Prevention Sub-Committee to see that all stakeholders work together to achieve this’.
The Action plan was developed over an 18 month period and resulted from an extensive evidence review and a national consultation which identified priorities, gaps and areas for action over the next four years. The plan will build on the work of the 2000 Report of the National AIDS Strategy Committee and is set out under 6 key action areas and 7 target population groups considered to be at particular risk of HIV.