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Sunday, 4 August, 2002, 23:04 GMT 00:04 UK
New campaigns needed to halt HIV
The last major Aids campaign was in the 1980s
Western governments must "drill home" the message that HIV kills and that a cure remains a long way off, experts have warned.

A study by analysts in London predicts that the number of new cases of HIV in the UK will jump by 40% by 2005.

They believe poor public awareness will be to blame for many of these new infections.


HIV diagnosis is still akin to a death sentence

Dheeraj Khiytani, Datamonitor
Analysts at Datamonitor said the figures highlighted the need for health officials, not only in Britain but in other western countries, to launch major education campaigns to fight the spread of the disease.

Growing crisis

In a report published on Monday, they warn the HIV crisis in Europe and the United States shows no sign of abating.

They predict the numbers contracting the disease will continue to rise sharply over the next five years.

While they believe homosexuals will remain most at risk group of contracting HIV, they predict a growing proportion of new infections will be among heterosexuals.

Their study indicates the total number of people living in the UK with HIV will increase from 27,000 in 2001 to 38,000 by 2005.

They predict a similar rate of increase in the US, where they suggest African Americans and Hispanics are most at risk.

The analysts believe a lack of awareness of the true nature of HIV is responsible for many new infections.

They suggest fresh campaigns should warn the public that HIV remains a killer and it is becoming increasingly difficult to treat.

Dheeraj Khiytani, HIV analyst at Datamonitor, said: "We are lacking sufficient preventative measures globally.

"These include adequate campaigns to drill the message into the general populace that HIV is a killer and that there will be no cure or vaccine for the disease for at least another 10 years.

"Although the situation is improving with every passing day, HIV diagnosis is still akin to a death sentence."

The last time the British government launched a major Aids awareness campaign was in the 1980s in the years after the disease first emerged.

New campaign

The Department of Health will launch a campaign later this year to increase awareness of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

But a spokeswoman said there were no plans to re-run the 1980s Aids ads.


We want to see the government reprioritise sexual health and HIV

Terence Higgins Trust spokesman
"It will not be a re-run of the memorable 'tombstones' campaign of the late 1980s as research shows this would not be effective in today's climate.

"Major reviews of sexual health campaigns and other health promotions have shown that behaviour change is most likely to be achieved with communications which are positive rather than negative, which state the message clearly and authoritatively, which maintain a constant presence and above all have personal relevance to the target audience."

But the Terence Higgins Trust said the time had come for a new Aids campaign.

"There is no doubt that the UK's mass HIV awareness campaign in the 1980s did much to raise awareness of the facts about HIV and safer sex, but a whole generation of young people has now grown up without this knowledge," said Andrew Ridley, its director of operations.

"We want to see the government reprioritise sexual health and HIV - only then can we expect the general public to do the same."


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02 Jul 02 | Health
04 Apr 02 | Health
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