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New cases of HIV double among young men in last decade

15th July 2008

The National AIDS Trust is calling for sex and relationships education in schools to deal with same sex relationships, after figures released today from the Health Protection Agency show the number of young men diagnosed with HIV has more than doubled in the last decade. 

Last year 281 young men were diagnosed with HIV in the UK, compared to 128 in 1998. 

In total, there were 702 new diagnoses of HIV among young people1 last year.
Almost half (48 per cent) were infected through sex between men, of whom the majority were white and have probably been infected in the UK. 

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of the National AIDS Trust, said:

"Current sex education completely fails young gay men and we are seeing the results in increasing numbers being diagnosed with HIV.  

Teachers are given no guidance on how to talk about same sex relationships in the classroom and government sponsored TV campaigns fail to even acknowledge gay relationships. Gay men are entitled to the same level of sex and relationships education as their heterosexual peers.  We know that the habits learnt at a young age stay with people, so it is important young men get the right information early on and are encouraged to practise safer sex.

1 in 20 gay men in the UK are living with HIV, in London that figure is 1 in 10 and in Brighton 1 in 8.  This is a national crisis for gay men, and the Government needs to take notice."

A further worry is the increase of undiagnosed HIV infection among young men who have sex with men.  Whilst it decreased in London (from 4.0% in 2002 to 2.5% in 2006), it has increased outside of London (from 0.8% in 2002 to 1.8% in 2006). 

The figures today do reveal some good news about the uptake of HIV testing, with the vast majority (92%) of all young people attending a GUM clinic accepting voluntary testing for HIV, with little difference by sex or sexual orientation.


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Article Information

Title: New cases of HIV double among young men in last decade
Author: Martine Hamilton
Article Id: 7520
Date Added: 15th Jul 2008

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