Alliance Health Spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has welcomed the inclusion of an HIV Prevention Pilot amongst a number of projects set to benefit under the Departments £100 million Transformation Fund.
Revealed earlier this week that the project would receive £450,000, Paula – a long term campaigner on the issue – said the move was welcome, but long overdue.
She added: “News that additional services are in the process of being set up following this announcement will come as a welcome relief to many, after the lack of an Assembly has seen Northern Ireland consistently left behind when it comes to HIV prevention and care.
“This has been a long time coming. In December 2016 through an amendment made to the HIV strategy I secured an agreement from the then Health Minister that Northern Ireland would be part of a trial rollout of the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) mediation – but this never happened, instead we had to watch while Scotland and England moved ahead with this.
“I hope to see these new clinics fully functional within a few weeks, but I want to also recognise that PrEP is not a replacement for condoms – it is not 100 per cent affective, would not prevent the transmission of sexually-transmitted infections or crisis pregnancies – but it can and should form part of a ‘belt and braces’ approach to addressing this serious sexual health matter.”