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Michelle Gildernew MP highlights World Aids Day on Wednesday December 1st

30 November, 2004

Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew speaking in advance of World Aids Day on Wednesday said:

"There are an estimated 39.4 million people living with HIV globally, up from an estimated 36.6 million in 2002, fuelled mainly by unprotected sex and intravenous drug use."

"We would be foolish to believe this epidemic does not touch the lives of people in Ireland."

"There has been a massive rise in the number of HIV positive cases occurring across Ireland with referrals to the six counties' only HIV support centre surging. There are currently something like 434 confirmed HIV cases in the north of Ireland and the RVH is reporting the highest increase in new cases since records began in the 1980's.

"Sexually Translated Infections (STIs) are also on the increase and I would urge people who are sexually active to take precautions for the sake of themselves and their partners and indeed the children who might be born with STIs.

"It is not only HIV infection that is on the increase however, STIs in general are becoming more prevalent and some of these can cause infertility if left untreated. Sexual health is not something that should be taken for granted in ourselves or others." ENDS

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