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Free HIV Rapid Tests to mark Irish AIDS Day Free HIV Rapid Tests to mark Irish AIDS Day


Free HIV Rapid Tests to mark Irish AIDS Day



Limerick Mayor Michael Sheehan, Billie, Martin Naarendorp, Cillian Flynn, Drew Murphy, Ann Mason, Sharon O’Meara, Patrick McElligott, Gráinne Woulfe.

Mon June 15 is Irish AIDS Day and Gender Orientation Sexual Health HIV (GOSHH), based on Davis Street in Limerick City, will mark the day by holding free Rapid HIV Tests on Wed June 17.

GOSHH, formally known as Red Ribbon Project, has been involved in HIV activism since it was first set up in 1989 by a group of gay men in Limerick and is currently promoting ‘Everyone has an HIV status – do you know yours?’ by providing rapid HIV testing in the community. Rapid HIV Testing has been common in other European Countries for a few years now but it has only recently been introduced into Ireland. In 2014, GOSHH was awarded the Noel Walsh HIV Activism Award for their role in promotion & support in the area of HIV at the Gay & Lesbian Awards (GALAs).

The test uses saliva or a pin prick of blood from your finger and the results are available within 20 minutes. GOSHH is working together with the STI clinic at the Regional Hospital so that anyone with a reactive result can be immediately referred there for a confirmation test and medical care.




Currently, it is estimated that 30-50% of the 2.3 million people living with HIV in Europe are unaware of their HIV status. The Executive director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé said “People have the right to know their HIV status. It is essential that new approaches are generated to enable and empower people to access HIV testing without fear of stigma, discrimination or criminalisation.”

To date 6,979 people have been diagnosed with HIV in Ireland since the 1980s.

Ann Mason, Manager of GOSHH, stated how important it is for people to know their HIV status: ‘These days HIV is a treatable infection and the sooner someone living with HIV accesses treatment, the sooner the medication will reduce their viral load to undetectable.’

‘Of particular concern is the repeated high figures amongst men who have sex with men, particularly gay and bisexual men in their 20’s and early 30’s – the 2013 figures are similar to 2012 figures which were the highest diagnosis figures recorded to date’, continued Ann.  ‘There is a clear need for a National campaign aimed at educating this particular community about how they can effectively protect themselves from HIV infection.’

Anyone interested in booking an appointment for a Free Rapid HIV Test should contact GOSHH on 061 314 354, or email, and all appointments are confidential. Appointments can be made for other dates and times, but a charge will occur.

You can visit their information stand at Arthur’s Quay Shopping Centre, Mon June 15 from 2pm – 5pm.

To get an appointment for a Free Rapid HIV Test, email here

For more information about GOSHH, click here

Check out GOSHH’s Facebook here

Check out GOSHH’s Twitter here

For more information on HIV, click here

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.