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HIV cases double in 10 years

23rd March 2011

New figures from the Health Protection Agency show that the number of people infected with HIV in the UK has almost doubled over the past decade.

hiv

HPA data shows new cases were up from 1,950 in 2001 to 3,780 in 2010. All involve people who acquired HIV in the UK and most were among gay men, with a 70% rise in the past decade, from 1,810 in 2001 to 3,080 in 2010.

But black Africans are also at high risk, prompting the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to publish new guidance on increasing HIV testing among black African communities.

Professor Mike Kelly, director of the centre for public health excellence at NICE, said: “For many people of black African heritage there is a fear that being diagnosed HIV positive will result in social exclusion or racism and prejudice from both inside and outside their community.

“As such there is often a reluctance to be tested which can significantly delay diagnosis.”

The key aim of the guidance is to make sure that testing is routinely offered those where there is a high prevalence of HIV, when registering with a new GP, on admission to hospital, and when having a blood test.

Head of HIV surveillance at the HPA, Dr Valerie Delpech said that there are some excellent treatment options available for HIV but they are most effective if the infection is diagnosed in the early stages.

The Department of Health said the figures underlined the importance of strengthening action to prevent HIV transmission, especially for gay men.

 

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