HIV and Aids cases rise 35 per cent in Cumbria
Last updated at 13:06, Tuesday, 25 August 2009
CASES of HIV and Aids across Cumbria rose by 35 per cent between 2007 and 2008, latest figures have revealed.
Data published today by the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moore’s University shows a total of 23 new cases were reported in the county last year, up from 17 in the previous 12 months.
It takes the number of people now living with HIV or Aids in Cumbria to 123. Five years ago there were just 59 – a 108 per cent increase.
The highest number of those accessing treatment are in Carlisle, where there were 30 people known to be living with the illness during 2008.
This is followed by 29 people in South Lakes; 18 in Allerdale; 15 each in Eden, Copeland and Barrow.
In terms of the new cases, there were six reported in both Carlisle and South Lakes during 2008, a further four in Barrow, three in Eden and two cases in both Allerdale and Copeland.
Although the numbers are fairly small in comparison to other more-populated parts of the north west, the percentages are significant.
As a region, the total number of HIV positive people accessing care in 2008 reached its highest rate ever.
This amounts to a total of 5,767 people across the north west, up 11 per cent from 2007.
The worst hit area is Greater Manchester, where there are now 3,418 people receiving treatment for HIV or Aids.
In terms of new cases, this rose by 13 per cent across the north west during 2008 – a reversal of the downward trend observed in 2006/07.
The majority of these people – 48 per cent – were infected through heterosexual sex, while 41 per cent were infected during sex between men. The majority of others were a result of injecting drugs.
A high percentage, 42 per cent in total, were reported to be infected abroad.
However the good news is that despite the increase in cases, the number of Aids-related deaths have dropped significantly – from nine per cent of all cases in 1996 to just 0.5 per cent in 2008.
Dr Penny Cook, who co-wrote the report, said this shows that HIV is no longer the life sentence it once was – though she urged anyone who thinks they may be at risk to get tested in order to benefit from lifesaving treatment.
Professor Qutub Syed, from the Health Protection Agency North West, said: “It is encouraging that more people with HIV infection are seeking treatment and care, but hugely disappointing that we are seeing an increase in new cases, reversing recent trends.
“This would seem to imply that more people are putting themselves and their partners at risk by failing to be careful about their lifestyles.”
Co-author Professor Mark Bellis added that while Greater Manchester has the highest levels in the north west, other areas are now experiencing similar rates as those seen in Manchester just seven years ago. “Better sexual health services and the promotion of safer sex remain our first line of defence against high levels of HIV already seen in some north west areas simply being repeated in others over the next decade,” he said.
First published at 11:30, Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
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"A high percentage, 42 per cent in total, were reported to be infected abroad."Read between the lines.....