- People living with HIV are deliberately risking passing
on the infection by continuing to have unsafe sex, an alarming new study
- Experts say the latest drugs used to combat HIV are so
effective that some with the virus experience renewed interest in relationships
without taking proper precautions against infecting others.
- One in five of those living with HIV is continuing to
practise unsafe sex while receiving treatment, according to the Sandyford
Initiative in Glasgow. The clinic,s findings have intensified fears that
the recent rise in HIV cases in Scotland is set to accelerate dramatically.
- The Sandyford, which specialises in sexual health matters,
carried out tests on 59 people who were receiving an HIV treatment called
HAART (Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy). Their study, published as
a letter in the Lancet, showed that 11 of the 43 men and 16 women had become
infected with sexually transmitted diseases while receiving HAART.
- Dr Ambreen Butt of the Sandyford Initiative said: "We
have to recognise that this is happening and we don,t yet know how common
- "One of our failures is that we are not asking patients
if they are still having sex."
- She added: "If you work in a unit with HIV patients
you realise that they are no different from the rest of us. They still
want to form relationships."
- According to Butt, action must be taken to prevent further
transmission and the solution is to focus on individuals already infected
with HIV and to devote more time to advising them on safe sex.
- But she emphasised it was important for doctors not to
adopt a judgmental attitude towards those with HIV to prevent a breakdown
of the doctor-patient relationship.
- Earlier this year a man with HIV was jailed for five
years at the High Court for knowingly infecting his ex-girlfriend. Stephen
Kelly, 33, made legal history when he was convicted of culpable and reckless
conduct for repeatedly having unprotected sex with Anne Craig.
- Shadow health minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "It
is very alarming. I am reluctant to suggest that these people are deliberately
passing the virus on. But there is now a complacency about HIV and AIDS."
- Recent reports have indicated that Scotland,s young heterosexual
middle classes are becoming the new victims of the disease.
- Last year saw the highest levels of HIV infection on
record in Scotland and the number of new HIV diagnoses among heterosexuals
was almost the same as among gay men - 60 compared with 61 new cases.
- The number of people aged 15-24 diagnosed with HIV has
doubled since 1995 with 19 people infected last year. It is feared that
young people have a casual attitude towards sex because they missed the
anti-AIDS campaigns of the 1980s.
- It is estimated that around 3,000 Scots are HIV positive
or have AIDS and the disease has killed 1,150 in Scotland over the past