THT calls for Londonwide HIV prevention plan, as HPA releases annual HIV figures
Thursday 29 November 2012
Figures released today by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) show there were 41,250 people living with HIV in London in 2011. This is almost half (43%) of everyone with HIV in the UK. Figures also show that 18 out of the top 20 English local authorities with highest HIV prevalence are in London.
A quarter of Londoners with HIV are undiagnosed and unaware they have the virus, leaving them at risk of serious health problems. Undiagnosed HIV is also a key factor driving the UK’s epidemic, with the majority of onward transmission coming from those who are unaware that they have the infection.
The new figures show there were 2,637 people newly diagnosed in London in 2011, bringing the total number of people accessing HIV care in the city to 31,147 (an increase of 5% from 2010). Gay and bisexual men and people of African origin remain the two groups most affected.
In response, HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust is calling for a city-wide plan to halve undiagnosed HIV across the city.
Paul Ward, Deputy Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “It is clear from these figures that much more needs to be done. London needs committed leadership to renew and revitalise the fight against HIV across the city as a whole, not just borough by borough. Londoners move about the city for their entertainment and social activities and you can’t fight HIV piecemeal. London needs an effective city-wide HIV prevention plan, properly resourced, based on evidence of need and effectiveness and with the backing of local authorities, the NHS, and the Mayor of London. Most major world cities now have co-ordinated plans to tackle HIV, and London will suffer without one.
“Currently there are over 10,000 people in London who have HIV but don’t know it yet. . Someone who is tested and on treatment is far less likely to pass the virus on than someone who is unaware of their status. Reducing undiagnosed HIV with a London-wide campaign encouraging those in high-risk groups to test more regularly is one way we can put the brakes on HIV across the city.”
Other national findings:
• 6,280 people were diagnosed with HIV in 2011, a 1% decrease on the previous year.
• Nearly half (47%) of those people were diagnosed late, after a point at which they should have started treatment.
• 500 people with HIV died in 2011.
• 48% of new diagnoses in 2011 were among heterosexuals, and 52% of those infections were acquired in the UK.
• 73,660 people in the UK accessed HIV care in 2011, an increase of 6% on 2010 and more than a threefold increase since 2000.