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HIV cases nearly double in decade

The number of people infected with HIV in the UK has almost doubled over the past decade, figures show.

New cases jumped from 1,950 in 2001 to 3,780 in 2010, according to data from the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

All the cases involve people who acquired HIV in the UK.

Most new cases were among gay men, with a 70% rise in the past 10 years, from 1,810 in 2001 to 3,080 in 2010.

But black Africans are also at high risk, prompting the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) to publish new guidance on increasing HIV testing among black African communities.

Professor Mike Kelly, director of the centre for public health excellence at NICE, said: "For many people of black African heritage there is a fear that being diagnosed HIV positive will result in social exclusion or racism and prejudice from both inside and outside their community.

"As such there is often a reluctance to be tested which can significantly delay diagnosis."

The new guidance aims to ensure testing is routinely offered to all people who live in an area where there is a high prevalence of HIV, when registering with a new GP, on admission to hospital, and when having a blood test.

Three out of five people who die from HIV each year received a late diagnosis.

Dr Valerie Delpech, head of HIV surveillance at the HPA, said: "HIV is an extremely serious infection. There are excellent treatment options available nowadays but these are only at their most effective if the infection is diagnosed early, before symptoms appear."


From Belfast Telegraph