Page last updated at 18:48 GMT, Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Figures reveal rise in HIV cases

HIV particle
The Terrence Higgins Trust raised concerns about late diagnosis of HIV

The number of people in Scotland diagnosed with HIV has risen, the latest figures have revealed.

NHS Scotland laboratories reported that 100 new people had tested HIV positive between 1 July and 30 September.

More than half (55) of the recently reported cases are presumed to have been acquired outside of Scotland.

There are thought to be about 4,100 people in Scotland living with the virus, which can lead to Aids, about 73% of whom are men.

In total, 68 of the latest cases were diagnosed in men and 72 involved people aged between 25 and 44.

Heterosexual intercourse was the probable cause of infection in 39 cases - with 26 of these people said to have probably acquired the infection abroad.

'Worrying figures'

The figures suggested the probable route of transmission in 27 cases was men who have sex with men, while there were four cases where the likely cause was from drug injecting and four cases of mother to child transmission.

Catherine Murphy, of the Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland, raised concerns that some people were being diagnosed with the condition late.

The charity said that 45% of cases first monitored between 1 April and 30 June this year involved people who were diagnosed when they should already have started treatment.

Ms Murphy said: "These figures are worrying because 45% of people being diagnosed in Scotland are being diagnosed late.

"This means their immune systems have already been damaged and, unless they start treatment, they will be vulnerable to a host of infections, some of which could be life-threatening."

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