All patients attending the emergency department of St James's Hospital in Dublin will now be routinely tested for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
Medical director Prof Patrick Plunkett said the department treated over 45,000 people annually. A pilot testing programme involving 10,000 samples found an alarming number of new diagnoses.
Results identified 97 HIV, 44 hepatitis B and 447 hepatitis C cases. Of those identified, just over 7pc were new HIV cases, 45pc were new hepatitis B cases and nearly 13pc were new hepatitis C cases, he added.
At the time of the pilot, almost 30pc of people already diagnosed with hepatitis C were not receiving care, he added.