Belfast Telegraph

Number of people living with HIV in N Ireland exceeds 1,000 for first time

The number of people living with HIV in Northern Ireland has exceeded 1,000 for the first time, a charity said.

A total of 94 new cases were diagnosed last year, with the stigma partly to blame for the high figures, Positive Life added.

Most were men and nearly all aged under 50.

Chief executive Jacquie Richardson said: "For such a small population, we are out of kilter with the rest of the UK and it is time that more is done to address this.

"Poor sexual health is a significant burden on the well-being of people living in Northern Ireland.

"We need to get this number down significantly."

As many as one in five people with HIV in Northern Ireland is unaware that they have the infection, she added.

A total of 1,090 have the condition, statistics from Public Health England showed.

Ms Richardson added: "There should be no embarrassment or shame in getting a HIV test if a person feels that they are at risk.

"The stigma that is associated with HIV is so negative that is it a contributing factor as to why the numbers are so high.

"We need to address and overcome this 'Northern Ireland effect' so that many more can take control of their own sexual health."

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