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UK HIV infection rates show a rise

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The number of people living with HIV in the UK rose from 2009 to the end of 2010, data from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has shown.

In 2009 there were 86,500 people living with the condition but by the end of 2010 the number had risen to around 91,500.

The HPA found that around 50% of people diagnosed with HIV had undertaken their test later than they should have, meaning they failed to benefit from early treatment. Only half of the 6,660 people diagnosed last year came forward for testing at an early time, while 20% refused a HIV test when visiting a health sexual health clinic.

Heterosexual men are the group most likely to have a late diagnosis, followed by heterosexual women and gay men, leading HPA to call for HIV testing in areas where contraction is high and sexual health services low.

The HPA also recommends that people should be offered testing when they sign up with a GP and, with their permission granted, when they are admitted to hospital.

At the same time, the data showed that the number of gay men infected with HIV in 2010 was higher than previous years.

The number stood at 3,000, the highest it has ever been in a single year, while one in 20 gay men in the UK is now HIV positive, with one in 11 in London.

 

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