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UK HIV diagnoses, still high and still late

Figures just out from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) reveal the number diagnoses of HIV transmission occurring in the UK remain high.

Overall diagnoses have declined for the fourth year running – going down to 6,630 in 2009 from 7,982 in 2005 – however the fall is due to fewer people being diagnosed here in the UK that were infected overseas.  The 3,730 diagnoses of transmissions which occurred in the UK remain as high as previous years.

Deborah Jack, CEO of the National AIDS Trust, NAT said: “The latest HIV figures underline the need for us to do more in both HIV prevention and HIV testing.  As the Government prepares its Public Health White Paper, NAT is calling for commitment to reduce the continuing stubbornly high numbers of people getting HIV in the UK.  Prevention is an immensely cost-effective activity: one transmission can cost the NHS upwards of £360,000 over a person’s lifetime.”

The report reveals that 1,000 heterosexuals were diagnosed with HIV and infected in the UK.  There were also 2,760 diagnoses amongst gay and bisexual men: one in six men diagnosed appear to have been infected a few months prior to their test, suggesting high rates of ongoing HIV transmission in the gay community.

Another worrying trend is that about half are being diagnosed late -after the point they should have started HIV treatment – putting their own health at risk and increasing the chance of transmitting the virus to sexual partners.

“Another crucial step is for sexual health clinics to work on increasing the uptake of HIV tests amongst those who attend their services.  The current uptake rate at 77 per cent is still too low.  But late diagnosis is a wider challenge to society – many people with HIV attend other NHS services repeatedly for years without being offered an HIV test and this neglect has to end.  We need HIV testing to be normalised within our health system and people to be informed about the value of having an HIV test,” Jack added.

Ends

3 Responses to “UK HIV diagnoses, still high and still late”

  1. Kevin says:

    I have asked NAT to clafity it treatment value of £360K, based upon http://benefits.tcell.org.uk/sites/default/files/Reply%20Letter%20061010.pdf London budget of £236m supporting a mimium of 50,000 people (45,000 of though living within London) costs £4,720 x 25 years = £118K

  2. Kevin says:

    If it is a long time since you undertook HIV awareness training or you have been relying on the media, you may want to update you knowledge of HIV, its transmission and treatment. A good introduction can be found on the Transmission and Testing and Treatment and Care pages of the Avert website. More detailed information about treatments can also be found on the NAM website
    The Policy Context

    The key Government document remains “Better Prevention, Better Services, Better Sexual Health – The National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV” published in 2001 and the Implementation Action Plan of the following year.

    Also see the Policies and Guidance section of this site

    http://www.hivandsocialcare.org.uk/newtothefield

  3. VLW says:

    Just found this site. I was one of the people diagnosed late in 2009, and therefore one of the statistics mentioned in the report. :/

    Having been diagnosed late with advanced HIV infection and opportunistic illness, I cannot stress strongly how important it is to test regularly to avoid such a situation. I put it off due to fear, and the good old adage – ‘It wont have happened to me’. Lesson learned!

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