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Positive Voices

I come from a big city, I was actually diagnosed in London. Even there, people did not want to get involved with people with HIV. I even find that now. People are a lot more informed, talking about things like PrEP and U=U, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that there are still quite big pockets of stigma we’re trying to combat and get over.”

On the differences between treatment in Ireland and the UK:

In London, everything is on the doorstep. You’ve got access to pretty much everything when you need it. Coming to Ireland, that isn’t so obvious. You have to fight to get tested sometimes and to actually be seen by doctors, so in that sense, there is a big difference. That’s why so many activist groups are trying to get better testing facilities. Across the whole island of Ireland, there’s not just one-level of access to treatment and services, we need to see improvements across the board.

On the U=U (Undetectable Equals Untransmittable) message:

Being a HIV Positive person myself who is on effective treatment, and knowing that I can’t pass it on to anyone else, is so empowering for me. It’s important that everyone is aware that people with HIV who are on effective treatment just can’t pass it on. I’m managing my diagnosis and I’m able to protect not only myself, but my partners. And that’s another argument in our arsenal to actually combat stigma.

On PrEP being made available on the national health service:

We need to get to the stage where PrEP is accessible to everyone instead of people having to pay a fee. And it’s important that we have sufficient services to back that up so it’s the success that we need it to be. We have the tools now to suppress the virus and we also have the medication to prevent people contracting HIV in the form of PrEP. We’re now at the stage where it’s really just a political thing.

For more information on HIV and the U=U message, visit www.actupdublin.com, www.hivireland.ie, www.man2man.ieorwww.positivenow.ie.

This article appears in the 356 Issue of GCN

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This article appears in the 356 Issue of GCN