Proposed by LGBT Rights Officer Sean O’Caroll, and seconded by Natural Sciences Convenor Laura Matthews, the motion to campaign for the introduction of “PrEP” was put forward to Student Council. “PrEP” (Pre-Exposure Prohylaxis) is the use of anti-HIV medication to reduce the risk of infection.
The motion read that “Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an important tool in reducing the rate of HIV infections. PrEP is not currently available in Ireland. Council therefore mandates that the LGBT Rights officer and the President to campaign for the introduction of PrEP in Ireland.”
Involving the use of two HIV medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine), the FDA has approved the use of PrEP and found it to be over 90% effective in reducing risk of infection in high risk individuals. While the drugs must be taken daily to be effective and is purely for uninfected individuals, it has been recommended by the World Health Organisation since September 2015 as an effective additional preventative measure for those at substantial risk of HIV infection.
In 2014, the HSE reported 377 new HIV diagnoses in Ireland, which is an increase of 11% compared to 2013. With only minor side effects, the Student’s Union has joined others such as Rory O’Neill AKA Panti Bliss in campaigning for the introduction of PrEP in Ireland.