The Government was today urged to take further steps to tackle sexually-transmitted infections as it emerged the number of cases has quadrupled in the decade between 1994 and 2004.
Dublin Aids Alliance Executive Director Ann Nolan warned these increases coupled with changing patterns of sexual behaviour may signal a future increase in HIV.
“Even though the number of sexually-acquired HIV cases among Irish born nationals represent a small percentage of the overall total, there is clearly no room for complacency but a pressing need for Government to act to improve sexual health outcomes for everybody,” she said.
“Furthermore, we need to intensify prevention efforts as highlighted at the recent high level meeting on HIV/Aids at the United Nations in New York.”
The DAA said the 10.7% decrease in the number of people testing HIV positive in 2005 when compared with the previous year must not lead to complacency.
Ms Nolan said this is the second consecutive year in which we have seen a decrease in the number of people testing HIV positive and that is very welcome.
“However, the downward trend should be interpreted with caution as the decrease is probably as a result of decreased migration inwards from areas of the world where HIV is endemic,” she said.
“We cannot afford to sit back and convince ourselves that we have turned the tide of HIV in Ireland.”
Heterosexual transmission of HIV has been the most dominant mode of transmission in Ireland for some years now.
There were 159 cases of heterosexually acquired HIV reported in 2005 compared to 178 in 2004 and 223 in 2003.
However, heterosexual transmission of HIV has been rising among Irish born nationals from 12 reported cases in 2001 compared to 35 cases in 2004 and 32 cases in 2005, reflecting a wider European trend.