- LONDON (Reuters) - New cases
of HIV diagnosed in Britain this year are expected to increase by 20 percent
in what public health experts described on Saturday as an extremely worrying
- The record number of new cases is more than twice the
amount being reported at the end of the 1990s.
- "We're two decades into this and we still haven't
got it under control in the UK, and it is one of the world's richest countries
with a developed healthcare system," Dr Barry Evans, a health expert
at the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) which monitors infectious
diseases, told Reuters.
- New figures released by the PHLS on the eve of World
AIDS Day on December 1 show that up to the end of September, 2,945 new
diagnoses had been reported, compared to 2,354 for the same time last year.
- By the end of 2002, the number is expected to hit 6,000,
about 1,200 more than in 2001.
- "We are moving in the wrong direction and that is
extremely worrying," said Evans.
- The increases in new HIV diagnoses represents heterosexual
transmissions in people coming from highly infected countries, including
sub-Saharan Africa where the epidemic has hit the hardest, and an increase
in unsafe sex among gay men in Britain.
- According to the PHLS estimates, approximately 1,500
gay men across the country are contracting HIV each year.
- "Our best estimate of the overall number of HIV
infected individuals within the UK, both diagnosed and undiagnosed, is
around 41,200, and just over 12,900 of those are undiagnosed," Evans
- The latest statistics from the PHLS mirror increases
in HIV infections around the world.
- UNAID, the United Nations organization spearheading the
global battle against HIV/AIDS, said earlier this week that by the end
of 2002, 42 million people worldwide will be living with HIV/AIDS and five
million were newly infected in 2002.
- The global statistics also indicate that HIV/AIDS is
increasingly becoming a disease affecting women. For the first time since
the start of the epidemic, 50 percent of HIV-positive adults worldwide
- "Safe sex is everybody's responsibility, not only
those who have been diagnosed with HIV or with other sexually transmitted
infections (STIs)," Dr Kevin Fenton, the head of the HIV and STI division
of the PHLS, said in a statement.
- "It is vital that we start once again to educate
people about the importance of practicing safer sex," he added.
- Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited
without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable
for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance