The number of people in Scotland diagnosed with HIV has risen to the highest quarterly total on record.
The number of HIV tests carried out in Scotland is rising
Figures for July to September this year show 105 people were found to have the virus, which can lead to Aids.
The Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health said the main cause of the increase was the rise in the number of HIV tests.
The total number of people in Scotland diagnosed this year as having HIV now stands at 274, the figures show.
That is about the equivalent of one positive test each day up to the end of September.
The annual totals for 2003 and 2002 were 258 and 250 respectively. The annual average in the 1990s was between 150 and 180.
During the latest quarter, 35 diagnoses were made in men who have sex with men and 33 in men and women who are likely to have acquired HIV in sub-Saharan countries.
HIV+ tests in latest quarter: 105
HIV+ tests in 2004 so far: 274
Aids cases reported in latest quarter: 14
Total deaths from Aids: 853
The figures are contained in the SCIEH's weekly report.
It says the 2004 increase and the continuing upward trend over the last three years is due principally to an increase in the number of people undergoing named HIV testing, particularly in genito-urinary medicine clinics.
"This has been particularly pronounced in 2004," it states, "when many clinics began to introduce a routine opt-out approach to the testing of attenders".
This approach was recommended by the group which produced a consultation document entitled "Enhancing Sexual Wellbeing in Scotland: a Sexual Health and Relationship Strategy".
Thirty-seven of the new HIV cases were in the Lothian area, 30 in Greater Glasgow, nine in Grampian and six each from Fife, Lanarkshire and Tayside.
"One "mother-to-child" transmission was also reported, which occurred outside Scotland.
Fourteen Aids cases were reported during the July-September quarter and three patients died from the condition.
The total number of Aids cases in Scotland is now 1,235, according to the SCIEH report. There have been 853 recorded deaths from Aids.
Glenn Codere, SCIEH's information manager, said early diagnosis of HIV
was helping people live longer.
"The public perception is that HIV was big in the 1980 and is maybe not quite
as big now.
"But people in general don't realise there are more people living with HIV in
Scotland than there ever have been and the treatments that are available now do
prolong the survival of infected people.
"It staves off the progress of AIDS better than previous treatments and although there is no cure it reflects the importance of people coming forward for testing and being diagnosed earlier."
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive said it provided more than £8m each year to NHS boards to help with their work in preventing the spread of all bloodborne
viruses, including HIV and Hepatitis C.