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A new online hub, launched by the Irish Skin Foundation (IFS) as part of its  #Five17Eight campaign, aims to increase awareness of HS and encourage open discussion about the often misunderstood and stigmatised condition.

From symptom recognition to care tips, it is hoped that the hub, available now on www.irishskin.ie, will fill an information void that exists for the many people living with HS who may be undiagnosed, as well as those who have lived with HS for many years and may feel isolated by the condition. Hidradenitis suppurativa is also known as ‘acne inversa’, and is a chronic skin condition. It is characterised by recurrent, painful nodules, ‘boil-like’ lumps or abscesses that can occur in the armpits, groin, perianal area, buttocks or under the breasts where certain sweat glands, known as apocrine glands are located.

A new Irish study carried out across four hospitals finds that a HS diagnosis can take up to eight years while international survey data suggests that during those eight years, people living with HS can see as many as five different healthcare professionals and attend 17 appointments before a correct diagnosis of HS is established. The Irish Skin Foundation’s David McMahon said; “HS is under-recognised and unfortunately, can be misdiagnosed for years. Symptoms have been mistaken for infected hair follicles, acne, or even sexually transmitted diseases. A late diagnosis can be detrimental to a person’s quality of life, and if it progresses can become very painful and physically debilitating, which is why early intervention is very important”.