New AIDS Epidemic Warning

aidsSome 63,500 adults in Britain now have HIV - and a third of these are receiving no treatment, a report warned yesterday.

The Health Protection Agency report warned the infection is spreading fast, particularly among the gay community.

Additional threats come from infection amongst immigrants from Africa, the HPA report said.

The HPA report says there are 43,400 people alive diagnosed with HIV infection and another 20,100 who do not know they have it.

Out of 7,450 cases reported last year, some 2,400 involved gay men and at least 3,691 involved people from ethnic minorities.

Dr Valerie Delpech, of the HPA, said: "We are seeing an ever increasing pool of people living with HIV and AIDS in the UK. This is due to people living longer with HIV due to advances in treatment, sustained levels of newly acquired infections in gay men, further diagnoses among heterosexuals who acquired their infection in Africa, and cases being picked up earlier."

Meanwhile a World Health Organisation report, published in advance of World Aids Day on December 1, warned of the bleak picture globally.

It says there are signs of hope as prevention programmes become more effective.

But some countries, such as Uganda, are seeing a renewed epidemic. The report also criticises North America and European countries for failing to sustain their anti-HIV campaigns.

The WHO report details 4.3 million new infections globally over the last year and 2.9 million deaths linked to AIDS.

The report said changes in the behaviour of young people have led to declining infection rates in several African countries, including Botswana, Kenya, Rwanda and Zimbabwe as well as Tanzania, Malawi, Burundi and Cote d’Ivoire.

But it warned of growing rates of infection among gay men in countries such as China, India, Pakistan and Thailand and throughout Latin America.

Dr Peter Piot, of the United Nations AIDS programme, said: "Knowing your epidemic and understanding the drivers of the epidemic such as inequality between men and women and homophobia is absolutely fundamental to the long-term response to AIDS.

"Action must not only be increased dramatically, but must also be strategic, focused and sustainable to ensure that the money reaches those who need it most."

source - Staffnurse