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Health Protection Agency calls for compulsory HIV tests

Published on 29/11/2011

UK experts have called for universal HIV testing, as new figures reveal that less than 4 per cent of England’s population were tested for the disease in 2010.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has published new data which shows that too many people are unaware of their HIV status. An estimated 91,500 are living with HIV in 2010, up from 86,500 the year before, with a quarter of those unaware of their infection.

Only 4 per cent of people in England were tested for HIV in 2010

Infections likely to have been acquired from within the UK almost doubled in the past ten years from 1,950 in 2001 to 3,640 in 2010, exceeding those acquired abroad.

Two distinct groups account for about three-quarters of people with HIV in Britain: heterosexual Africans and gay and bisexual men.

In 2010, over 3,000 gay men were diagnosed with HIV - the highest ever annual number. One in 20 gay men is now infected with HIV nationally and in London the figure is one in 11.

Deborah Jack of the National AIDS Trust said: “People shouldn't be scared of HIV testing, but they should be scared of undiagnosed HIV”.

"The advances in HIV treatment have been one of the biggest success stories in the 30 years since the virus first emerged, but too many people test too late and so fail to benefit from these drugs."

In 2010, one in five people visiting a sexual health clinic did not accept an HIV test, and two thirds of the 680 deaths from HIV in 2010 were among those diagnosed late.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is calling for universal testing for the infection in all new GP registrants, as well as those being admitted to hospitals in high affected areas of the country.

Private medical insurance will not cover treatment for HIV, because it is considered a chronic condition. For more information about what your policy covers, read our FAQ page, or compare health insurance policies online now.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011

Categories:  Medical
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