Dorset People Having Unprotected Sex Urged To Get Tested
8:10am 1st December 2013
Dorset health officials are encouraging people to get tested for HIV if they have unprotected sex.
A quarter of people living with the condition are unaware they have it.
It's World Aids day (Sunday 1st December) and Public Health Dorset and the local NHS Clinical Commissioning Group is trying to raise awareness over the dangers of unprotected sex.
The latest figures 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 says a fifth of that number weren't diagnosed leading to concerns the virus could be passed on unknowingly.
Dr David Phillips, director of Public Health Dorset, said:
"HIV is no longer an untreatable disease. The health and quality of life of people living with HIV has improved greatly in recent years due to better treatment. This is why it's important for anyone who feels they may be at risk to get tested."
Local GP and Chair of the Maternity, Reproductive and Family Health Clinical Commissioning Programme within Dorset CCG, Dr Karen Kirkham, said:
"World Aids Day always takes place on 1 December and it is a chance for people to find out more about HIV, what it is like to live with it in the world today and how to reduce the risk of becoming infected.
"In the UK in 2013, due to effective treatment, very few people are dying of HIV other than those that do not know that they are infected, and this is why testing is so important.
"We are encouraging everyone in Dorset to find out more via www.worldaidsday.org or if they have concerns to speak to their GP or the local sexual health service."