This image grab taken from a video clip released by Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar (R) on his twitter account shows he was receiving a Rapid HIV Test in a clinic in Dublin, Ireland, Dec. 1, 2018. Leo Varadkar is the country’s first prime minister to publicly take an HIV test, reported local media. The World AIDS Day is observed on Dec. 1, whose theme of this year is “Know your status”. (Xinhua)
DUBLIN, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) — Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has become the country’s first PM to publicly take a HIV test after he released a video clip on his twitter account on Saturday, showing him receiving a Rapid HIV Test in a local clinic, reported local media.
In the video clip which lasts no more than two minutes, Varadkar said that “I am in a GP (General Practitioner) surgery here in Dublin for World Aids Day and I am taking a Rapid HIV Test as part of a campaign to raise awareness and to encourage people to know their status.”
Saturday marks World’s Aids Day which falls on Dec. 1 every year. The theme of World Aids Day for this year is “Know Your Status”.
In the video, Varadkar demonstrated to viewers how quick and easy to receive a Rapid HIV Test which can develop a result in 60 seconds after getting a few drops of blood from a finger prick.
After his test showed a negative result, Varadkar smiled and said “So just had the test, only took a few minutes, and was pretty painless.”
He called on people to receive the HIV test which is available in a network of free clinics around the country.
He said that every year about 500 people in Ireland are diagnosed with HIV and in many cases HIV is passed on by people who don’t know their status.
So it is really important that more and more people have a HIV test, he said.
“As part of the Government Sexual Health Strategy, we are going to be expanding testing, making it more available around the country, stepping up education and awareness, trying to reduce the stigma around HIV, particularly around getting a test,” he said.
In the video, he announced that the Irish government plans to introduce Ireland’s first PrEP programme next year.
PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a medical method for people at high risk for HIV. It can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout one’s body. It is highly effective for preventing HIV if used as prescribed, but it is much less effective when not taken consistently.