Men warned after prostitute admits having HIV virus
Men from Londonderry who visited a brothel in the Republic have been told to seek medical advice urgently after a transgender prostitute told a court she was HIV positive.
The prostitute, who was formerly a man, was arrested by gardai along with another woman, but has since been freed.
Both are foreign nationals.
While an exact figure of the number of men from the Derry and border area who frequented the brothel in Letterkenny in Co Donegal is not known, it is estimated to be in the region of 100.
Garda Chief for the Letterkenny Divisional Area, Superintendent Vincent O'Brien, took the unprecedented move of making the information public in a bid to alert those who used the brothel to seek medical aid.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, he said: “This situation came to light as a result of a surveillance operation by gardai in Letterkenny into a prostitution ring which has been ongoing for some time. As part of this investigation we were watching a house in the Ballymacool area of Letterkenny on Sunday night when two prostitutes moved into it.
“We entered the house on Monday and arrested two people, both foreign nationals.
“They appeared in court on Tuesday. One was a female and the other one was transgender.
“The transgender person, during the court hearing, announced that she was HIV Positive.
“Both of these people were later convicted in court, bound over to keep the peace and released.
“This obviously could have serious repercussions for anyone who has visited this prostitute and while I have no medical expertise, I would ask anyone who has visited any prostitute in the Letterkenny area to seek medical advice.”
Gardai in Letterkenny contacted the Health Service Executive in the Republic about the woman, whose whereabouts are now unknown. The health body alerted its counterpart in Northern Ireland.
The Western Health Trust has now appealed for anyone from Derry who may have been with a prostitute in Letterkenny and may now be concerned about their own health to contact them.
A spokeswoman for the Western Trust said: “The Genito Urinary Medicine (GUM) Clinic at Altnagelvin Hospital screens for most sexually-transmitted infections. The Trust would encourage anyone who has concerns about their sexual health to attend a walk-in clinic or make an appointment with the GUM clinic by contacting (028) 7161 1269.”