– Keep The Promise"
LONDON, November 23, 2007 – An
estimated 73,000 adults are now living with HIV in the UK , according to the
Health Protection Agency’s latest report on sexual health in the United
This figure includes both those who
have been diagnosed and also around a third (21,600) who remain unaware of
their HIV status.
“Figures received so far for 2006,
show 7,093 people were diagnosed with HIV in the UK,” Dr Valerie Delpech,
Head of HIV surveillance at the agency said this morning.
“We expect this number to rise to an
estimated 7,800 when all reports are received, a comparable figure to the
7,900 received in 2005.”
Dr. Delpech went on to say, “We are
still seeing high levels of HIV transmission in gay men in whom we
anticipate that there will have been just over 2,700 new diagnoses of HIV
infection in 2006.
“In recent years we have seen steady
increases in all sexually transmitted infections (STI), including HIV, in
gay men and since 2003, the number of HIV diagnoses reported annually has
consistently increased and exceeded the annual number of diagnoses
throughout the 1980s and 1990s.”
Increased testing will have
contributed in part to these recent high numbers of HIV diagnoses, but there
is no suggestion that the overall level of underlying HIV transmission in
gay men has fallen.
Unprotected sex continues to be a very
high risk activity for HIV and STI transmission in this group.
“Sexual health of young adults has
worsened in 2006 with increases in sexually transmitted herpes and warts
viruses. One in ten young adults screened through the National Chlamydia
Screening Programme in 2006 tested positive for the infection,” said Dr
In 2006, there were an estimated 750
new HIV diagnoses thought to be due to heterosexual HIV transmission within
the UK , many in black ethnic minority communities. This compares with an
estimated 700 cases reported in 2005 and 500 in 2003 showing that
heterosexual HIV transmission is steadily increasing.
The number of cases who may have
acquired HIV heterosexually in Africa has remained stable. When all reports
are received this number will be around 3,450 in 2006 compared to 3,700 the
previous year and a peak of 3,850 in 2003.
“Our report, Testing Times ,
launched ahead of World AIDS Day allows us to review the sexual health of
the nation and examine progress on preventing HIV and sexually transmitted
infections in the UK,” said Professor Pete Borriello, Director of the HPA’s
Centre for Infections
“While there have been some
encouraging developments in HIV and STI prevention in the last year such as
the increase in HIV testing, a marked reduction in waiting times at STI
clinics and wider chlamydia testing for young adults, the total number of
STI diagnoses increased 2.4% from 606,600 in 2005 to 621,300 in 2006.
“The control of HIV and STI
transmission is a major public health challenge and t esting for STIs,
including HIV, in the UK needs to be increased still further.
“We recommend that gay men should have
regular HIV tests, STI clinic attendees should be tested for HIV at every
visit and young sexually active adults should be screened for chlamydia
annually and after a partner change,” he continued.
“We need to reinforce the safe sex
message for gay men, young adults and the broader community. The best way to
protect yourself from contracting an STI including HIV is by practising
safer sex by using a condom with all new and casual partners.
“Any person who believes they may be
at risk or has symptoms suggestive of a sexually transmitted infection
should consult their doctor or attend a clinic. The sooner HIV and other
STIs are diagnosed and treated, the less likely it is they will be passed
on,” Professor Borriello pointed out.
Commenting on the Health Protection
Agency’s latest statistics on HIV and sexual health, Nick Partridge, chief
executive of HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT),
called for action.
“One in 20 gay men are now living
with HIV, and levels of STIs are at their highest for 20 years. That’s why
we’re launching a Call to Action to improve gay men’s sexual health.
“Gay men, businesses, politicians,
media and the voluntary sector all need to play their part, and act now,” he
Today, THT launched a “call to
action” which outlines what the NHS, politicians, funding bodies, gay
businesses, the media – and gay men themselves – can do to tackle the
growing sexual health crisis amongst gay men in the UK.
The ‘call to arms’ outlines five
simple action points for each group and suggestions range from asking
politicians to make sex and relationships education part of the core
curriculum, to asking gay men to have regular tests for sexually transmitted
document also outlines the extensive work
THT and its partners are doing to tackle the gay epidemic of HIV with help
from statutory funders including the Department of Health.
This week’s UNAIDS ‘AIDS Epidemic Update ‘07 states that
there were 8,925 newly diagnosed HIV infections in 2006 in the United
Kingdom . This figure obtained from EuroHIV is in fact the number of
reports received in 2006 and therefore, because of reporting delays, also
includes persons diagnosed in previous years. As reported in this year’s
HPA HIV & STI annual report, the estimated number of persons diagnosed
with HIV in the UK in 2006 is 7,800 (within the range: 7,700-7,950).
The prevalence of HIV among Injecting Drug Users (IDUs) in
England and Wales remained higher at 1.3% in 2006 compared with 0.7% in
2000. Adjusting for reporting delay, there were an estimated 190 HIV
diagnoses where infection was thought to have been acquired through
injecting drug use in the UK in 2006.
In 2006, 376,508 new sexually transmitted infections were
diagnosed in GUM clinics in the UK compared to 368,341 in 2005.
In 2005 there were 7,662 new diagnoses of HIV in the UK .
Owing to late reports this figure for 2005 is likely to increase to an
estimated 7,900 diagnoses.
The estimated number of people living with HIV in the UK
in 2005 was 66,700. This figure included both those who had been diagnosed
and also an estimated 20,100 who remained unaware of their infection.
“Testing Times” is a
collaboration between the Health Protection Agency, Health Protection
Scotland, the National Public Health Service for Wales , CDSC Northern
Ireland, DHSSPS Northern Ireland, Information Services Division of NHS
National Services Scotland and the Institute of Child Health ( London ).
The theme for World AIDS Day 2007 (December 1)
is “leadership”. This theme will continue to be promoted with the
campaigning slogan, “Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise.” For further
is a report on HIV and STIs in the UK and is published by
the Health Protection Agency and collaborators in time for World AIDS Day.
To see a full copy of the report, click
HERE. (Note: The HPA website was
still experiencing difficulties with the download facilities at 14:30
(UK) on November 23)
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Licence.
Posted: 23 November 2007 at
12:00 (UK time)
updated at 14:30