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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 November 2005, 10:12 GMT
HIV cases 'continue to increase'
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HIV cases have increased by nearly 5,000 in the UK
The number of people with HIV in the UK has risen by more than 5,000 in a year, statistics show.

The Health Protection Agency report found that HIV cases stood at 58,300 last year - up from 53,000 in 2003.

Increases in other sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, which topped 100,000 new cases, and syphilis, were also recorded, the agency said.

Campaigners said there needed to be more focus on prevention and access to halt the rise.

And Dr Barry Evans, an HIV exert at the HPA, added: "There is no part of the UK that remains unaffected by HIV or other sexually transmitted infections."

But he said rates of infection did differ from area to area.

STI STATISTICS
HIV - 58,300 people now living with infection, up by 5,000 on the previous year, including 7,275 new cases
Chlamydia - New diagnoses up by 8.6% from 95,879 to 104,155
Syphilis - Up by 37% from 1,641 in 2003 to 2,254 a year later
Genital warts Rose by 4.2% from 76,457 to 79,678
Gonorrhoea Fell by 11% from 24,956 to 22,335
Genital herpes - Decrease of 1% in diagnoses from 19,180 to 18,991

And he added people could play their part in preventing STIs by practising safe sex with new and casual partners.

The latest HIV figure included both those who have been diagnosed and also an estimated 19,700, who remain unaware of their infection and therefore undiagnosed - meaning they could unknowingly be helping the spread of the infection.

The report reveals there were 7,275 new infections in 2004 in the UK - up from 7,217 in 2003.

It showed that most of these - 4,287 - were diagnosed in heterosexuals, with 73% most likely to have been acquired in Africa.

Of the 58,300 with HIV in the UK, around 29,700 are thought to be heterosexuals.

Rise

The steep rise in the number of syphilis infections from 1,641 to 2,254, has occurred against a backdrop of several localised outbreaks in London and Manchester.

But chlamydia remained the most common STI with new diagnoses rising by 8.6% to 104,155.

While cases of genital warts rose by 4.2% from 76,457 to 79,678.

But diagnoses of gonorrhoea and genital herpes fell by 11% and 1% respectively.

Nick Partridge, chief executive of sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust, said: "We're at a crossroads - if we don't concentrate on prevention and access to services now, we will continue to have ever-increasing rates of HIV and the worst sexual health in Western Europe."

And Deborah Jack, chief executive of the National Aids Trust, said: "The continuing high numbers of people newly diagnosed with HIV underlines the need for more effective HIV prevention in this country.

"In addition, the increased estimate in undiagnosed cases is worrying."

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said there was "now a new generation of younger people oblivious to the dangers posed by STIs", while Liberal Democrat health spokesman Steve Webb added the findings were "distrubing".




SEE ALSO:
Sex infections continue to rise
30 Jun 05 |  Health
Teenagers 'still avoid condoms'
18 May 05 |  Health


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