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An Taoiseach and Minister for Health confirm introduction of PrEP programme in 2019

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar  and Minister for Health, Simon Harris today (Tuesday) welcomed the publication of a draft report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) on the introduction of a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) programme aimed at preventing HIV.

The report confirms PrEP is safe and highly effective at preventing HIV in people at substantial risk, and also finds that the introduction of a PrEP programme would be cost-saving.

HIQA will now commence a public consultation for five weeks before presenting its final report for the Minister. Welcoming the announcement, the Taoiseach said:

We want to reduce the number of new HIV diagnoses in Ireland.

Increasing the availability of PrEP will help us to do so.

This report not only confirms that PrEP can help to prevent HIV amongst those who are high risk, it also shows how a PrEP programme could save money.

The introduction of a PrEP programme, coupled with increased testing and greater awareness will help us to reduce the number of people contracting HIV.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said:

The publication of this draft report is a significant step in the introduction of a PrEP programme in Ireland in 2019.

Reducing the number of new HIV diagnoses in Ireland is a priority focus for me as Minister for Health. The introduction of a PrEP programme will make a significant contribution to that aim.

A PrEP programme involves the pre-emptive use of antiretroviral medication to prevent HIV infection, within a holistic service which includes regular monitoring and testing, as well as advice and counselling on safer sex practices. Similar programmes have recently been introduced in a number of other countries.

The draft HTA and public consultation are available on HIQA's website.