THE number of people diagnosed with HIV in Yorkshire has doubled in ten years.
Shocking figures released by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) show the region had a 100 per cent increase from 199 cases in 2001 to 397 in 2010.
The Yorkshire and the Humber region has seen the third highest increase among the ten English regions.
Dr Stephen Morton, regional director of the HPA Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “HIV remains a major public health issue both nationally and in Yorkshire and the Humber, and the significant increase we have seen in the region since 2001 is a tremendous concern. To prevent a further rise, we need to work with our health partners to increase access to HIV testing routinely offered in clinical settings such as new registrants at GPs and hospital general admissions, in areas where rates of HIV infection are high.”
The figures also showed 30 per cent of people diagnosed in 2010 came forward for testing after the point at which treatment should have begun. Late diagnosis leads to increased risk of AIDS and death.
In the UK, the number of people living with HIV reached an estimated 91,500 in 2010, with a quarter of those unaware of their infection.
Dr Leena Inamdar, sexual health lead for HPA Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Prevention of HIV is the most important way of controlling the epidemic we are seeing in the UK and so if you’re having sex,
use condoms with any new or concurrent partners. The stark rise in newly-diagnosed cases we have seen in our region since 2001 is of serious concern, not least because a large number of people in our region are unaware of their HIV status and are diagnosed late. HIV is an infection which can nowadays be treated and those diagnosed promptly can expect to experience similar life expectancy as an individual without the infection.”