Health Board: Upcoming conferences, talks, campaigns and events

1) Self-testing kits for HIV should not be relied on as the sole means to check for HIV, according to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA). Dr Niall MacAleenan, head of the medical devices department at the HPRA, says no HIV self-test can detect HIV immediately after infection. "If a person thinks they have been exposed to the virus in the previous 72 hours, they should attend their nearest Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)/ Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) clinic for advice on testing and on post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), a treatment which can reduce the chances of becoming HIV positive," says Dr MacAleenan. The HPRA publish online information leaflets to help people choose reliable self-testing kits. See

2) Entries for the Irish Red Cross humanitarian awards are currently being accepted. The humanitarian of the year award is the top prize, but this year there will be a special award for the Irish Defence Forces in recognition of their work as peacekeepers on the 60th anniversary of Ireland's first peacekeeping deployment in 1958. Other categories are the journalism excellence award, corporate impact award, innovation for change award and student humanitarian award. See for entry forms and criteria.

3) A fundraising campaign for St Gabriel's Children's Respite House, a special purpose-built facility in Mungret on the outskirts of Limerick, aims to raise over €1 million. The six-bedroom centre will be available to children with complex physical and medical needs. The centre, which is due to open in spring 2019, will cost about €2.5 million, and €1 million has already been donated by the JP McManus Foundation. Contact Kate Sheahan at to donate.

4) The Dementia and Neurodegeneration Network Ireland (DNNI), in association with UCD's School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science, will be hosting a public outreach event on Monday, August 27th, titled: Let's Talk About Brain Health & Brain Disease. The event – at UCD's O'Brien Centre for Science (10.50am-3.15pm) – is aimed at the public, those living with dementia/ alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, carers, professionals and researchers working in the area of neurodegenerative disease, and students. Tickets are free and can be booked through Eventbrite.


5) Acute hospitals are very challenging environments for people with dementia. Researchers from TrinityHaus, a research centre at the School of Engineering at Trinity College Dublin, have worked with colleagues at the School of Medicine to develop Dementia Friendly Hospital Guidelines. It is hoped that these guidelines will be used to ensure universal design principles will be applied to new buildings, extensions and retrofits in Irish hospitals.

Sylvia Thompson

Sylvia Thompson

Sylvia Thompson, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about health, heritage and the environment