This November for the second year running, Mens Sexual Health are launching their Know your status campaign. The idea behind it is that with only a month to go until the big day on December 1st, we dedicate the month of November to encourage everyone to book an appointment at their local GU clinic to check their HIV status. The most important reason for this campaign is that an estimated one in four of people living with HIV in the UK are unaware of their infection - thats around 23,000 people!
With this new campaign we ask people to make the promise to:
Know your HIV status
Never assume anyone elses status and
Keep informed about all sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
We encourage you to get tested and find out if you are HIV positive (HIV+ve) or HIV negative (HIV-ve), especially if you have ever put yourself at risk and never been tested before. Dont live in doubt. Once certain of your status, the knock on effects are multiple. If you test positive youll know now to protect those who you are sexually active with by keeping sex safe. This can reduce new cases of HIV. If you know you are virus free, you can commit to staying that way, by using condoms. Testing and knowing your status now, when you dont even necessarily feel ill, will also reduce late diagnosis HIV. Effective medications are available, and early treatment leads to improved outcomes for you and decreased transmission to others. People who are diagnosed and treated early have better long-term health outcomes and minimize their risk of spreading the infection to others.
Never Assume Anyone Elses Status.
With 1/3 of the HIV+ve population unaware of their status, dont ever assume that the person you are having sex with is free from the virus! If someone you're going to have sex with doesn't mention HIV, it doesn't necessarily mean that he has the same HIV status as you. It just means he's chosen not to talk about it. There is also an assumption and a stereotype that you can spot a person who has HIV, by the way they look, how healthy or sick they appear, but this is a very bad idea. In reality you cant actually tell.
Keep Informed on all Sexually Transmitted Infections.
It is not just HIV that people need to be aware of; there are lots of other sexually transmitted infections, many of which have no signs or symptoms. So when you go to get screened for HIV, get a full MOT and request to be checked for all STIs. When you are infected with an STI it makes it more likely for you to acquire a second infection, even HIV. If your immune system is weakened by one kind of STI, that means another can more easily piggy back on. The best protection from STIs during sex is to wear a condom.
The following are the most recent statistics published by the HPA (health protection agency) for 2011
There were an estimated 96,000 people living with HIV in the UK by the end of 2011. Around one in four (24%) were undiagnosed and unaware of their infection, from Health Protection Agency (HPA) figures.
In 2011 there were 6,280 new HIV diagnoses in the UK, down 1% on 2010. The peak for new diagnoses occurred in 2005 when 7,914 were recorded.
UK-acquired infections in men who have sex with men and in heterosexuals continue to rise while infections acquired abroad continue to decrease.
UK-acquired new diagnoses have more than doubled in the last 10 years from 1,950 in 2001 to 4,059 in 2011 and are now greater than those from abroad which fell to 2,221.
London has by far the highest HIV prevalence, with 6.5 people per 1,000 adult population compared to around 1.5 per 1,000 nationally.
Men who have sex with men
Diagnoses among men who have sex with men have now reached their highest ever level at 3,010. Of these, 79% were acquired in the UK.
In 2011, 48% of new HIV diagnoses were among men who have sex with men. Gay and bisexual men remain the group at highest risk of contracting HIV in the UK.
A total of 2,990 new diagnoses were acquired through heterosexual sex in 2011.
In 2011, 48% of new diagnoses were among heterosexuals and 52% of these were acquired in the UK.
A total of 1,779 people of black African ethnicity were newly diagnosed, the lowest figure since the peak of 4,056 in 2003.
UK-acquired infections in black Africans were estimated at 43% by the HPA in research released earlier in 2012.
Late diagnoses and AIDS
Almost half (47%) of people diagnosed with HIV in 2011 were diagnosed late, after they should have begun treatment. Late diagnosis is most common among black African men (68%), heterosexual men in general (64%), black African women (61%) and older people (aged 50 and over at 61%).
A total of 504 people with HIV died in 2011 and the majority of these people were diagnosed late. People diagnosed late were 10 times more likely to die within a year than those diagnosed before treatment was required.
A total of 457 people were diagnosed with AIDS in 2011, down from an average of 850 for the previous decade.
Treatment and Care
In 2011, 73,659 people in the UK accessed care and treatment for HIV, an increase of 6% on 2010 and more than double the number accessing care in 2003.
London makes up 42% of people accessing HIV care in the UK, followed by the North West of England at 9%.
More than one in five adults (23%) accessing HIV care in the UK is over 50, more than four times the 2001 figure.
The MSH team will be touring Swindon with the campaign during November and on World Aids Day. Check out the diary section on the calendar to see where they will be. Also look out for the World Aids Day Safe Sex packs in local venues The Mailcoach & Pinkrooms.
information on a range of STIs and HIV please check out our health
If you would like to speak to a member of our staff about any of the issues raised please call on 01793 250951/07867872552 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to book an HIV test at Swindon GU clinic please call the SWISH team on 01793 604038
Remember if you live in Swindon you can order FREE condoms, lube and range of sexual health leaflets from our website