Tuesday, 9 June 2020
Department of Health
Health Screening Programmes
411. To ask the Minister for Health his plans to continue providing free HIV screening services for high-risk groups; if consideration has been given to distributing rapid HIV test kits to high-risk groups free of charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10274/20]
Sexual health, and in particular tackling the challenge of HIV, is a priority for my Department, as evidenced by the introduction of a national HIV PrEP prevention programme in November 2019, with funding of €5.4 million allocated to the HSE in Budget 2020 for full national roll-out this year. In addition, last year, Ireland joined the Fast Track Cities Initiative, a global partnership project to drive the response to HIV/AIDS, including action on awareness, outreach and community HIV testing, and stigma reduction.
Last year also saw the expansion of the National Condom Distribution Service with the commencement of condom dispenser services in third level colleges and universities. to provide wider sexual health supports to young people.
Comprehensive and up to date information regarding STIs (including HIV), accessing STI and HIV testing, sex and coronavirus, safer sex, contraception and consent messaging is accessible online via the HSE website www.sexualwellbeing.ie
With regard to the specific matter raised by the Deputy, I have forwarded her question to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply.