The number of young men living with HIV in Ireland continues to rise, according to figures from the Health Service Executive's protection surveillance centre.

HIV diagnoses have continued to increase significantly among men who have sex with men in the last number of years, in particular among younger men aged 18-29 years.

Figures show that 152 new cases of HIV were diagnosed in the first half of this year.

Nearly 40% of these new diagnoses were among men who have sex with men, and over one third of those were aged between 15 and 29.

To mark World Aids Day, a national HIV Prevention and Sexual Health Awareness Programme is being launched in Dublin today.

The campaign is targeted at young men aged 18-29.

HIV is now an officially notifiable disease under amended Infectious Disease Regulations signed by the Health Minister, which came into effect at the end of September.

It means that under law, doctors must now report every case of HIV to their local department of public health.

It is expected that this will improve the accuracy of statistics for HIV cases.