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Sharp rise in HIV diagnoses in Yorkshire


12:01am 29th November 2011

Thirty years on from the start of the UK HIV epidemic, new figures released by the Health Protection Agency for Yorkshire and The Humber today show there were as many as 4,600 people living with HIV in 2010, with one in four of these undiagnosed and dangerously unaware they have the infection.

The new figures show that there were 397 people newly diagnosed with HIV in the region in 2010, an increase of 4% from 2009 and a 100% increase from 2001.

In total there were 3,494 people in HIV care in Yorkshire and The Humber in 2010, more than four and a half times the 2001 total of 732.

In response to the new prediction that by 2012 there will be 100,000 people living with the infection in the UK as a whole, HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust has laid out a three point plan, for anyone sexually active, to tackle HIV in the region.

1) Have a sexual health check up, including an HIV test. The more regularly you put yourself at risk through unprotected sex the more frequently you need to test. HIV testing is easy, confidential and now available in local community settings as well as sexual health clinics, so you can fit it around your daily schedule.

2) Use condoms with every new partner: Until you have been tested and know for sure that neither of you have HIV, or another sexually transmitted infection to pass on, condoms are essential protection.

3) If you have HIV get yourself treated and looked after. Visit MyHIV.org.uk to gain detailed information and advice on living well with HIV, including personal support from other people living with HIV through the community forums. And start treatment when a doctor advises - modern HIV treatment reduces onward transmission as well as lengthening your life.

Jane Morel, Regional Manager for Terrence Higgins Trust, said:

"HIV rates in Yorkshire and The Humber remain dangerously high and to bring them down we all have to take responsibility for our sexual health. We can't just rely on partners, or chance, to keep sex safe.

"Our Stand Up, Stand Out campaign this World AIDS Day (1st December) aims to raise greater awareness of HIV. There are more people than ever with HIV in Yorkshire and The Humber and a large proportion of these may be passing on the virus, unaware that they even have it. Lets start talking more about safer sex, testing and treatment to keep people well and prevent even more becoming infected."

Other key national findings:

  • 6,660 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in 2010, an increase from 2009. Half (50%) of these people were diagnosed late, after they should have begun treatment. Almost 700 people with HIV died in 2010.
  • Infections acquired in the UK continue to rise significantly, at 3,640 for 2010, more than double the figure a decade ago
  • Numbers of people infected through heterosexual sex in the UK tripled (in the last decade) and continue to rise.
  • 50% of new diagnoses in 2010 were among heterosexuals and 42% of these infections were acquired in Africa. 
  • 69,400 people in the UK accessed care and treatment for HIV, an increase of 6% on 2009 and more than a three fold increase since 2000.
  • More than 1 in 5 adults (21%) accessing HIV care in the UK is over 50, more than 4 times the figure in 2001.
  • People diagnosed late were ten times more likely to die within 1 year than those diagnosed before treatment was required.
  • Over 2.1 million HIV tests were performed in England in 2010; most were within the STI clinic and antenatal settings. The uptake of HIV testing among those offered in these settings was 69% and 96% respectively.

For more information about HIV visit MyHIV.org.uk

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