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HIV diagnoses in gay men highester-ever

29th November 2012

New figures from the Health Protection Agency show that the number of gay and bisexual men being diagnosed with HIV in the UK reached a new high last year.

hiv

HPA data reveals that almost 50% of the 6,280 people diagnosed with HIV in 2011 were men who had sex with other men (MSM).

Two thirds of those diagnosed had not been to a sexual health clinic for at least three years and it is feared that one out of every 20 MSM has HIV.

The HPA’s head of HIV surveillance Dr Valerie Delpech said: “Transmission in the UK is largely sexual, so safe sex is the best way to prevent yourself getting HIV.”

The situation is more serious in London than elsewhere with 96,000 people in the capital living with HIV, up from 91,500 in 2010.

While drug treatment now means that HIV does not necessarily affect life-expectancy, there are fears that up to 25% of the people with HIV are completely unaware of the infection and are not receiving treatment. They may also still be spreading the virus.

The National Aids Trust said it was vital that gay men get a test at least once a year for sexually transmitted infections and HIV and if they are having unprotected sex with casual partners that test should happen every three months.

Sir Nick Partridge, the chief executive at the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: Reducing undiagnosed HIV by encouraging those in high-risk groups to test more regularly is one way we can put the brakes on the spread of infection.”

 

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