Calls for more HIV testing

1 December 2010, 06:00

More than a quarter of people have HIV and don't know it.

The Health Protection Agency says an estimated 86,500 people were living with the virus in Britain in 2009, but more an 50% of those – estimated to be almost 22,500 people – are unaware they have the infection.

Their data also revealed there were 6,630 new cases of HIV in 2009 among 4,400 men and 2,230 women.

In Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire 616 people were receiving treatment for HIV in 2009, in Hertfordshire that figure is at 813 but in Northamptonshire it’s 594.

Herts Aid is a support service for people in East and North Hertfordshire. They currently have almost 200 people on their books, ranging from 3 year old to 76 years old.

Suzanne Bannister is the Director at Herts Aid. She told Heart that the earlier people are tested, the more effective the treatment is:

“People who present late with HIV are traditionally much more difficult to manage and they may have many more side effects. By then they may have gone into, what we would call, the Aids stage of the illness where they would have an opportunistic infection.

“We know that there are huge amount of undiagnosed people out there we also know that 54-70% of the new diagnoses come from that undiagnosed group. There is definitely a huge need for more people to be tested.”

For more information and advice from Herts Aid go to otherwise you can call them on 01920 484784