Everyone in Ireland ‘should be entitled’ to free hepatitis B vaccine amid shocking increase in syphilis cases
EVERYBODY in Ireland should be entitled to a free hepatitis B vaccine, as a shocking increase in syphilis cases should send a warning about the need to take care of our sexual health, it has been claimed.
The HSE offers a free vaccine at its public clinics – but people could pay up to € 100 to get vaccinated through their GP, although they can still be at risk of catching infections.
There have been 565 cases of syphilis so far this year – up from 562 throughout 2020.
There were 745 confirmed cases in 2019, a 54% increase from 2018 when there were 484 cases.
But Patrick McElligott, of the sexual health charity GOSHH, said the current rate is much higher than 2019 levels.
He told the Irish Sun: “There has been a huge jump this year from 2020 levels, but last year none of the clinics were open, which means no testing has been done. has occurred, so it is likely that many cases have gone undiagnosed.
“However, there has always been a huge increase from 2019 levels. Part of that could be because sites and other places are open again and more human contact is taking place, but a Huge reduction in testing was the main reason.
“There should be no barriers to treatment for sexual health. Hepatitis B is always a concern and everyone should be entitled to this free vaccine. Better treatment will lead to better results.
“Men who have sex with men are more at risk, which is why there is more awareness around their situation but the dangers are still there for everyone.
“People are much more aware of the importance of taking care of their sexual health in terms of regular testing if they think they should, but the cases are still higher than ever before. and that’s a concern.
“But there should be no barriers for anyone who wants to be treated or vaccinated.”
Even last week, cases of syphilis in the east of the country more than doubled.
It arises following an STI outbreak earlier in 2021.
HEPATITIS B JAB
Syphilis and hepatitis B have many of the same characteristics, and heterosexuals can be just as at risk as homosexuals.
The HSE has provided a list of people who should consider getting the hepatitis B vaccine.
These include men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, partners and anyone living with someone who has hepatitis B, anyone diagnosed with an STI, health workers. sex, anyone who paid for sex, and anyone who has been sexually assaulted.
HSE has been contacted for comment