Warning as HIV infections go unnoticed

    One of third of people infected with HIV in England were unaware
    of their infection, said the government’s Chief Medical
    Officer (CMO) Liam Donaldson this week, writes Haroon
    Ashraf
    .

    The CMO’s annual report presented a snapshot of the
    nation’s health and targeted pressing health issues that
    could be improved by sustained action.

    Half of gay men with HIV have been infected for an average of six
    years, Donaldson said in the report State of the Public
    Health
    .

    “A relatively large proportion of people are being diagnosed
    late in the course of their HIV disease leading to avoidable
    illness and death, and creating opportunities for the disease to
    spread more widely within the population,” he said.

    The government is concerned that the number of new HIV cases has
    increased by 55 per cent from 2000 to 2002.

    Opportunities are not been taken to test people in genitourinary
    medicine clinics, said the report. All people attending a
    genitor-urinary clinic for the first time should be offered an HIV
    test, it said.

    The report recommendations include strengthening HIV prevention
    work for communities most at risk of HIV.

    In 2002, 29,044 people in England were living with HIV – the
    latest available data — while in 2003, 5,486 people were diagnosed
    with HIV.

    This year’s report has focused on smoking, blood transfusion,
    academic medicine, and earlier detection of HIV infection

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