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HIV test shunned by patients

29th November 2011

The Health Protection Agency has warned that a significant proportion of people are refusing the offer of an HIV test at sexual health screening clinics.

hiv

The HPA said it was worried that some people were not aware they had HIV and risked infecting other people before they were diagnosed.

Figures showed that around a fifth of people did not take an HIV test when they went to a sexual health screening clinic.

However, the number of people infected with the virus in the UK is on the increase. The estimated amount of people with HIV in the UK was 91,500 in 2010.

This figure increased from 86,500 in 2009 and around 25% of those infected were unaware they had HIV.

Last year there were 6,660 new diagnoses of the condition in the UK. The number of infections in the UK has nearly doubled over the last ten years from 1,950 in 2001 to 3,640 in 2010.

Less than 4% of the UK population were tested for the virus in 2010 and more than half of people diagnosed last year received their diagnosis later than the ideal time they should have started treatment. 

Dr Valerie Delpech, consultant epidemiologist and head of HIV surveillance at the HPA, said: "People probably do not understand how easy it is to diagnose HIV and that with early treatment their chances of survival are near to normal."

"We are very concerned that a large number of people in the UK are unaware of their HIV status and are diagnosed late. We encourage all people to take up the offer of an HIV test in whatever health care setting," she added.

 

 

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