The Cork Sexual Health Centre will lead a World AIDS Day Campaign to promote HIV testing services in Ireland on November 30.
The campaign, which is being organised in conjunction with Parkrun, sexualwellbeing.ie, Healthy Ireland and the HSE, focuses on knowing your HIV status with the tagline “Everyone has a HIV status. What’s yours?”.
This campaign aims to bring public awareness to the topic and realities of living with HIV, highlight existing support and testing services and promote positive physical and mental health.
There are over 6,000 people living with HIV in Ireland.
Every week, 10 cases of HIV are diagnosed, with almost half of these being under the age of 35.
However, according to a recent study, misinformation within the Irish population in regards to HIV still exists.
Many people still believe that HIV can be transmitted through coughing and sneezing, as well as kissing.
The World AIDS Day free 5K run aims to highlight the U=U message (that the disease cannot spread with the help of medication), address existing misconceptions, normalise the process of HIV testing and reduce associated stigma.
“Each of us has a HIV status,” explained Dr Martin Davoren, Executive Director of the Sexual Health Centre based in Cork.
“This World AIDS Day, we’re encouraging everyone to check or to update their status.
“It’s never been easier to get tested - all it takes is a small finger prick and one minute later you’ll have your result,” he added.
“There are testing opportunities available across the country.” Ciarán Lynch, chairperson of the Sexual Health Centre explained:
“People living with HIV, who take treatment daily as prescribed and achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load have no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to a HIV-negative partner.
“It is important to know your status to protect your health and wellbeing,” he said.
The World AIDS Day run will take place in collaboration with parkrun at 9.30 a.m. on November 30th 2019 at three locations.
In Cork, it will be held in the Regional Park in Ballincollig and Glen River Park.
In Kerry, Tralee Town Park will host the event.
The run is open to everyone and seeks the input of local communities, groups and individuals to attend, show their support by sharing a message via social media or by wearing a red ribbon on the days leading up to the event.