New HIV cases rise sharply in UKgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Current News - Homefront Preparations : One Thread
Saturday, 30 November, 2002, 08:31 GMT
The number of people newly diagnosed with HIV in the UK has risen by 25% over the last year, latest figures suggest.
The news comes ahead of World Aids Day on Sunday, and as the government launches a fresh attempt to promote safe sex.
The figures suggest about 41,000 people in the UK now have HIV and more people have been infected this year than in any comparable period since records began.
The Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) recorded 2,945 new diagnoses in the year to the end of September - compared with 2,354 in the same period last year.
Infection rates are particularly high among homosexual men - about 1,500 are now thought to be contracting HIV each year.
Black people are also suffering a particularly high rate of infection.
And there is a significant increase in the number of heterosexuals being infected abroad - especially in Africa.
Other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have also been rising sharply.
Syphilis infection has risen by 400% since 1995.
The PHLS says that its figures prove that there remains a significant problem with new infections - despite years of "safe sex" messages.
Dr Kevin Fenton from the PHLS said: "This record high for HIV diagnoses is very concerning, especially as data indicate that ongoing transmission of HIV is occurring.
Worldwide figures released this week show the UK's problem is tiny in comparison with the epidemic in southern Africa, and the growing outbreak in India and China.
However, Dr Fenton said that the message still needed to be driven home to prevent new infections taking off in the UK.
He said: "Safer sex is everybody's responsibility, not only those who have been diagnosed with HIV or with other STIs.
"The fact of the matter is that everybody needs to be aware of the risks.
"Every single HIV diagnosis is a devastating blow to the patient and their family."
The figures were released alongside a new government campaign aimed at young adults.
Its theme is the "Sex Lottery", with adverts in newspapers highlighting the dangers of, among other infections, chlamydia and herpes.
Infection on the rise
One in nine has an STI
STIs up 61% over 10 years
Gonorrhoea up 35%
Chlamydia up 122%
Syphilis up 204%
Chlamydia is the most common STI
Genital warts is second most common
Health Minister Hazel Blears, launching the campaign, said: "We are adopting a bold, exciting campaign which is vitally important.
"We need to get this information across to young people if we want to tackle the rising rates of sexually transmitted infections."
Tory shadow health secretary Dr Liam Fox said: "This is typical of the government's too little too late approach to sexually transmitted diseases.
"They have completely ignored our repeated warnings about the sexual health crisis gripping the United Kingdom and have utterly failed to do anything useful about it.
"Of course we welcome any initiative to alert people to the dangers of unprotected sex.
"But like the sexual health strategy before, this is too little too late".
-- Anonymous, November 30, 2002