HIV testing promoted as UK HIV figures for 2005 published

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Government figures show that 5,560 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in 2005. The Health Protection Agency (HPA), which monitors the HIV epidemic in the United Kingdom expects that this figure will increase to over 7,750 once all reports are in.

Prof. Pete Borriello, Director of Infections at the HPA, used the publication of the preliminary figures to promote HIV testing: “the earlier people are diagnosed, the more effectively their health can be monitored and antiretroviral treatment can be started.”

Of the diagnoses already reported, 2, 878 (52%) involve individuals who become infected with HIV as a result of heterosexual intercourse. Just under a third of new infections (1, 712) are due to sex between men. It is thought that this figure will increase to almost 2,500 when the final figures are available. Although this represents an apparent increase in new infections amongst gay men, the HPA believe that this is due to more gay men testing for HIV rather than an increase in HIV risk behaviour.


risky behaviour

In HIV, refers to any behaviour or action that increases an individual’s probability of acquiring or transmitting HIV, such as having unprotected sex, having multiple partners or sharing drug injection equipment.

Most of the new heterosexual cases of HIV diagnosed in 2005 were acquired outside the UK. However, there was a slight increase in the number of new infections attributed to injecting drug use, from 131 in 2004 to an expected 182 in 2005 (2% of all new infections).