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2005-07-14-HIV cases on the rise in Cumbria
Support workers have called for renewed efforts to increase awareness of HIV following a rise in cases in Cumbria.
The number of new HIV cases in the county this year has already reached last year's total of 12.
Experts say there are now about 100 people in Cumbria confirmed as being diagnosed as HIV positive.
Support workers have blamed a higher incidence in the disease amongst heterosexuals and the need for a major government-backed awareness campaign.
Last year a dozen new cases were diagnosed in the county. But in the first six months of 2005 there have been just as many cases.
Support staff have said there are likely to be others who are not known to the medical authorities, because they are seeking treatment outside Cumbria.
In the North West as a whole there has been an 82% increase in HIV/Aids cases coming forward in the past three years - up from 1,964 in 2001 to 3,574 in 2004.
Cumbrian HIV worker Stan Blacklock said: "People need to be educated more about the situation.
"The government should do something to make people more aware of the risks, especially to young people.
"Young people simply think that it is not going to happen to them."
Michelle Reid, chief executive of the George House Trust, an HIV charity, said complacency was also to blame.
She said: "The key message now is that HIV affects everyone. We used to see this as a disease that someone else gets, but we have to take HIV much more seriously.
"The world is a small place, so of course we are seeing the effects of this in the North West of England, which is a very cosmopolitan area.
"Regardless of whether people are black, white, gay or straight, young or old, HIV is something that can affect us all."