HIV warning over Donegal brothel

Published Friday, 26 October 2012
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A health warning has been issued to anyone who used a brothel in Letterkenny, Co Donegal urging them to seek "urgent medical advice" after it emerged in court that a man working as a prostitute is HIV positive.

HIV warning over Donegal brothel
The public health warning came after a court case over prostitution offences. (© Getty)

Charlie Joe McGinley, deputy editor of the Donegal News, said two foreign nationals - a Spaniard and a Brazilian - appeared at court in the county on Wednesday charged with prostitution offences.

During the proceedings at Glenties District Court, it emerged that one of the accused admitted to being HIV positive.

Mr McGinley, who has worked at the paper for 25 years, told UTV that what happened next was "unprecedented."

"Yesterday morning, I got a phone call from the Garda Superintendent," he explained.

"It is unprecedented for me in my time to hear a Garda Superintendent [Vincent O'Brien] making an appeal for any members of the public who have engaged the services of a prostitute to seek urgent medical advice."

It is understood that a significant numbers of cars used by visitors to the brothel were Northern Ireland registered.

The deputy editor said it was located in a "quaint, quiet residential area" of the town, which had homeowners of mainly pension age.

"The brothel began operating there about a month ago," he continued, saying that it was being reported that between 60-100 people a week were using the service.

"Initially this concerned residents who contacted the gardaí," he said, adding that householders informed him that the facility's busiest times were during lunch at 1-2pm and after work at 5-6pm.

The veteran journalist said gardaí have confirmed that eight brothels are currently operational in the town.

He said the demand in Letterkenny for this type of service has shocked many people.

A statement from the Public Health Agency said that the safer sex message applies to everyone.

"People may be infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections without having any symptoms, so it is important to protect yourself and to stop the spread of infection to others.

"Use condoms, limit the number of your sexual partners, and get checked at your GP surgery or your local Genito Urinary Medicine (GUM) clinic, if you have put yourself at risk, regardless of the nature or source of that risk."
© UTV News
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