Number of HIV Infections in Britain Reaches ‘Record’ High for Second Year
The number of people infected with HIV in Britain has reached a "record" high for the second consecutive year, the Agence France-Presse reports. The preliminary numbers, released by the British Public Health Laboratory Service, show that 2,868 new cases of HIV were reported in 2000, a 7% increase over the previous year. However, the figures, which are "likely to be higher" when the final numbers are tallied, "do not mean infection is on the increase," as many people with new diagnoses contracted the virus several years ago and are just now being tested (Agence France-Presse, 1/24).
Experts Blame 'Complacency'
For the second year, the number of new cases in heterosexuals has outnumbered those in homosexuals. Jeannette Medway of the Mildmay Center for HIV Palliative Care said that young people are "complacen[t]," and are "lulled into a false sense of security by the lack of people dying from HIV." A spokesperson for the Terrence Higgins Trust, an HIV/AIDS charity, added that prevention work and research must continue. "It's therefore vital that HIV prevention work ... be funded and promoted if we are to slow down the rate of new infections," he said. Derek Bodell, chief executive of the National AIDS Trust, said that the government "must make [HIV education] an overarching priority in its long-awaited HIV and Sexual Health Strategy" (BBC News, 1/25).