Several gay and bisexual men have been turned away from an STI clinic in Dublin due to lack of staff.
The Gay Men’s Health Service provides free health checks to gay and bisexual men at Baggot Street Hospital. However, according to the Health Spokesperson Stephen Donnelly TD for Fianna Fail (the Irish opposition party), several men contacted him about being turned away.
Donnelly made the comments at The Red Ball. This is a charity fundraiser for HIV Ireland, hoping to roll out publicly funded Pre-Exporsure Prophylaxi (PrEP).
PrEP greatly reduces the risk of HIV infection.
Donnelly told DublinLive: ‘No one disputes the power of PrEP but unless there is adequate STI screening services for the LGBTI community, PrEP will not be as powerful as it should be.
‘Only recently, I have been contacted by several gay men who were turned away from the Gay Men’s Health Service located on Baggot Street, due to a lack of capacity.
‘This is an ongoing issue, and one which the staff in the clinic are doing their level best to manage.’
Donnelly called on Ireland’s Health Service to fund more staff for the service, which is expected to move to Meath Primary Care Center on Heytesbury Street.
‘Bearing in mind that of the [more than 11,000] new patients who presented in 2018, 32% were diagnosed with an STI, it is essential that testing takes place as quickly as possible to avoid further transmission.’