Latest NW HIV Cases - Concern for Men who have Sex with Men
Publish Date: 14/09/2012
A total of 789 new HIV and AIDS cases were reported in 2011 across North West England. This represents a 7% increase in the number of total new cases compared with 2010. In total, there were 6,993 people in the North West living with HIV in 2011.
The latest report by the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University‘HIV and AIDS in the North West of England 2011’ contains analyses of HIV epidemiology by treatment centre, as well as by local authority and primary care trust.
By the end of December 2011, The Health Protection Agency (HPA) recorded a cumulative total of 53,161 men who have sex with men who had been diagnosed with HIV in the UK ( 44% of all total UK diagnoses). The HPA estimate that the number of new diagnoses in men who have sex with men has more than doubled from 2002 to 2011.However it is thought likely that this is due to an increase in HIV testing, although a rise in high risk sexual behaviour has also been suggested as a contributory factor.
The number of new HIV cases is alarming and furthermore the fact that many men are being diagnosed very late and some have even gone on to develop AIDS is causing concern.
Harry Mc Anulty, Sexual Health Programme Manager at The Lesbian & Gay Foundation states that;
“The figures from the HIV and AIDs report produced at John Moores show the stark increase in HIV transmission amongst men who have sex with men in North West. Some alarming figures include the continuing high numbers of men continuing to present with AIDs. It is so important that gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men test at least every 12 months or more frequently if you have had unsafe sex. Late diagnosis amongst gay and bisexual men suggests that some men are not testing soon enough. Knowing your HIV status allows you to manage HIV (if you receive a positive diagnosis) and receive the relevant treatment that stops the virus manifesting into AIDs. Knowing your status allows you to be in control of your health.”
Know Your HIV Status –Get Tested
Getting tested for HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) has never been easier. The Lesbian & Gay Foundation run a number of different services to make HIV and sexual health testing more accessible for gay and bisexual men. You can even have a rapid test and get your result in 30 minutes. Many people who are living with HIV or have no symptoms at all. STIs also make it easier to pick up HIV. For more information on our testing services please check out webpage – www.lgf.org.uk/testing
These figures show that HIV has not gone away. The safest way to protect yourself from HIV and STIs is to use condoms and water base lubricant. Free gay men’s safer sex packs are available in a large number of gay venues across Greater Manchester, as well as community venues and spaces.
PEP is medication that can be taken if you have been exposed to HIV through sex. PEP is not the ‘morning after pill’ for gay men who have unsafe sex. PEP has to be taken within 72 hours and is available in GUM clinics and Accident and Emergency Departments. PEP medication can have a severe side effects and impact on your health. For more information on PEP go to: http://www.lgf.org.uk/Get-support/do-you-know-your-HIV-status/