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Need to Improve Prevention and Testing to Combat Undiagnosed HIV Among Africans and Caribbeans

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New statistics released today from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) show that 42 per cent of all Africans diagnosed with HIV in the UK are diagnosed late.

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT, comments:

“The alarming proportion of late HIV diagnoses amongst Africans in the UK results in increased illness and death as well as increasing the risk of onward transmission.  We need to expand HIV testing urgently outside sexual health clinics - GPs in particular need to start testing for HIV and become better at recognising the signs and symptoms of HIV infection.”

The statistics also showed that black Caribbeans are emerging as a group who are disproportionately affected by HIV. 189 black Caribbeans were diagnosed last year. Among newly diagnosed black Caribbean heterosexuals 55 per cent had most likely acquired their infection in the UK.

“Black Caribbean communities are currently neglected when it comes to HIV prevention despite the fact that the proportion of black Caribbeans with HIV is four times higher than in the wider population. Current national HIV prevention campaigns target gay men and black Africans but there are none that focus on black Caribbeans. This needs to be redressed. Strategic Health Authorities and Primary Care Trusts must use local HPA data to plan and support HIV prevention strategies to meet the needs of black Caribbeans.”

The full HPA report, Sexually transmitted infections in black African and black Caribbean communities in the UK: 2008, is available to download from www.hpa.org.uk

Notes to the editor:

For further information contact Katherine Sladden 020 78146733 / press@nat.org.uk

NAT

NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expert advice and practical resources. We campaign for change.

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