Charity Warns People in Dorset Over HIV
7:59am 21st November 2013
An HIV and Sexual Health Charity wants more people in Dorset to get tested.
Figures out today (Thursday 21st November) show the number of people with the HIV virus in the Wessex region has fallen by 14% to around 2,700.
But Public Health England who carried out the research say a fifth of that number weren't diagnosed leading to concerns the virus could be passed on unknowingly.
In response to the figures, HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust is urging people who may have been at risk from HIV locally to test for the virus.
Scientists and public health bodies agree that undiagnosed HIV infection is a key factor driving the UK epidemic. Modern drug treatments drive down the level of virus in the body, often to an undetectable level. This means someone with HIV who has tested and is on treatment is far less likely to pass on the virus than someone who doesn't yet know they have it. Currently, most onward HIV transmission in the UK comes from people who are unaware they have the infection.
Sue Peters, Regional Manager for Terrence Higgins Trust in the South, said:
"HIV is still the UK's fastest-growing serious health condition, so it's vital that people arm themselves with the facts they need to stay safe. We're now in a stronger position than ever to beat the virus, with cutting-edge testing services and free, world-class drug treatments for anyone who tests positive.
Modern HIV tests are fast, simple and confidential - from next year, people will even be able to test at home. We fully believe we can turn the tide of the epidemic, but we need to see more people testing, and testing more regularly, to drive down undiagnosed HIV locally."