HIV infections continue to rise

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1 December 2006

The rates of people in Wales diagnosed with the HIV infection continues to rise, say the Health Protection Agency.
According to statistics, 26 out of every 100,000 people were being treated for HIV or Aids in Wales in 2005 - a total of 760 sufferers in the nation.

This rose from 674 patients in 2004, which is equal to 23 out of every 100,000.

The National Public Health Service for Wales said young men having sex with men were "still taking risks".

Men under 25, who have sex with men, accounted for 11% of the newly diagnosed cases of HIV.

The report, published by the Health Protection Agency with support from the National Public Health Service for Wales, coincides with World Aids Day on December 1.

KEY FINDINGS
Rates of HIV continuing to increase in Wales
'Particular concern' is continuing transmission among men who have sex with men
This group at risk of an overlapping HIV, syphilis and hepatitis epidemic emerging in Europe
Most cases of gonorrhoea and chlamydia occurring in young heterosexuals
Across the UK, heterosexual women account for 35% of new diagnoses of HIV - nearly twice figure in 1996
Heterosexuals represent 54% of new HIV diagnoses, with 85% infections acquired outside UK
Source: Health Protection Agency

Dr Marion Lyons, head of health protection for the National Public Health Service for Wales, said: "The number of infections in men who have sex with men has increased steadily year on year - they still contribute to the majority of infections acquired in Welsh residents.

'Exposed'

"The number of infections occurring in young men under 25 years is a cause for concern.

"This level of infection in men who have sex with men shows that individuals are still taking risks."

She urged people to practice safe sex to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

"We have seen an increase in the number of heterosexual men and women who have acquired the infection in countries where there is a high prevalence of HIV or through unprotected sexual intercourse with individuals from these countries.

"The risk is much reduced if people practice safe sex.

"As well as putting themselves at risk of HIV infection, men who have unprotected sex with men are increasingly being exposed to a number of other sexually transmitted infections.

"Many such infections are diagnosed in clinics in Wales."



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