Latest HIV shock stats re: gay men
Publish Date: 30/11/2011
The Health Protection Agency have released figures that state that in 2010 there were 3,000 gay and bisexual men diagnosed with HIV in the UK, the highest yearly figure since records began.
This means men who have sex with men made up 69 per cent of all HIV infections acquired through sex in the UK that year.
The HPA also report that in 2010, there were around 91,500 people living with HIV in the UK, of whom one in four remained undiagnosed and therefore more likely to pass the virus on.
6,660 people were newly diagnosed with HIV, and 50% of those people were diagnosed late, after a point at which they should have already started treatment.
In 2010, 39% of men who have sex with men were diagnosed late, after a point at which they should have already started treatment.
Over 51,000 HIV tests were performed among men who have sex with men attending sexual health clinics in 2010.
The Health Protection Agency are urging universal testing for HIV: http://www.hpa.org.uk/
Peter Boyle, Sexual Health Co-ordinator at The Lesbian and Gay Foundation writes: "The fact that there are more gay and bisexual men living with HIV than ever before is certainly something that should be taken very seriously.
It may demonstrate that more men are testing for HIV, which is certainly a good thing – the more men who are aware of their status, the more they can be sure of looking after their health – but what this also suggests is that more new infections are occurring each year, which is something we all need to take notice of.
The late diagnosis figures also suggest that a large proportion of gay and bisexual men are not testing soon enough. This can mean that their immune system has already been damaged, leaving them open to infections that would at one time have been called AIDS defining illnesses.
It is easy to forget in these times of modern treatment for HIV, that it is still a killer if left unchecked. Regular testing for all sexually active gay and bisexual men is a must, with testing at least once a year.
But also, the message about having safer sex with all new sexual partners needs to be reinforced more than ever. So many people are becoming complacent about the need for HIV prevention because the effects of HIV infection largely go unnoticed.
It is true that HIV is no longer a death sentence if caught and treated, but the message needs to get through that the effects of the virus have not changed since it was discovered in 1981, even if the treatments have."
Free gay men’s safer sex packs are available in a large number of gay venues across Greater Manchester, as well as other community venues, sexual health check ups and colleges.
Same Day HIV Testing - The Lesbian & Gay Foundation in partnership with the Manchester Centre for Sexual Health and The Manchester Public Health Development Service offers sexual health testing, and same day HIV testing. And will be carrying out same day HIV testing on Thursday 1st December between 1-6pm. To find out more go to: www.lgf.org.uk/testing