Half of Irish gays do not have regular HIV tests

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A survey of sexual health attitudes of those living in the Republic of Ireland has found that almost half of gay men are not aware of their sexual health status.

The results of the survey, conducted between 2003 and 2004 were presented at the annual Gay Health Forum by the HSE (the Irish equivalent of the NHS).

Figures contained within the report indicate a drop in the level of HIV testing, to 46.6 per cent in 2004 from 69.9 per cent in 2000.

Mick Quinlan, Gay Men’s Health Project Co-Ordinator said the results “highlight the need for continuation of our on-going health and education outreach programme”. “They also draw attention to the necessity to promote such campaigns among men from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds, in order to ensure that all men have been exposed to information regarding best sexual health practice.”

The report found that those with higher qualifications were the most likely to regularly have a sexual health test and found that people who have been unemployed were the most likely to have HIV.