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Dr Lyons, Consultant in Genitourinary and HIV medicine at St James’s Hospital, Dublin, was appointed to the newly-created role in 2015. The position was introduced to drive targets in the National Sexual Health Strategy 2015-2020.
According to minutes of a meeting of the Sexual Health Strategy Implementation Group in March 2018, the position would be continued upon Dr Lyons’s return to clinical practice in October.
“A business case is being prepared for [National Director of Health and Wellbeing] S O’Keeffe and discussions with RCPI re succession planning have commenced. To include GP engagement,” outlined the minutes, which were obtained by MI following a Freedom of Information request.
A HSE spokesperson informed MI: “The HSE is seeking to recruit a Clinical Lead in sexual health during the coming months. There will be an allocated time to clinical practice in the post. In order to be eligible to apply for this position, candidates will be required to be registered with the Medical Council of Ireland on the specialist division of the register in a specialty appropriate to the requirements of the Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme.”
Meanwhile, the HSE confirmed that it is still planning to make available HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) next year, “pending allocation of appropriate resources” from the Department of Health. It would be available to those “at substantial risk” of sexual acquisition of HIV.
“At present, no decisions have been made around which preparation of tenofovir/emtricitabine will be used for HIV PrEP,” said the HSE’s spokesperson.
“The availability of generic PrEP preparations in the market since December 2017 has allowed for lower drug costs for individuals getting HIV PrEP privately. The Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, which was commenced on 24 June 2013, provides for the introduction of a system of generic substitution and reference pricing. The key aim of the legislation is to ensure value for money in the supply of medicines.”
Between 865 and 2,683 individuals would avail of HIV PrEP in the first year of roll-out, the HSE has estimated.