Scotland on Track To Exceed Highest Annual Number of New HIV Cases
Between January and June this year, 196 new cases of HIV have been reported in Scotland, making it likely that more new cases will be reported in 2005 than any other year since the country began offering HIV testing in 1985, according to data released on Thursday by Health Protection Scotland, Glasgow's Herald reports. The 365 new HIV cases recorded in 2004 was a record, but in the first six months of 2005, 196 new HIV cases have been recorded. According to the data, at least 89 of the new HIV-positive people identify themselves as heterosexuals, 61 as homosexual and 10 as injection drug users. Of the 89 cases among heterosexuals, 55 people -- most of whom were new immigrants to the United Kingdom -- said they contracted the virus as a result of a sexual experience in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Herald. "Better testing has certainly played a role [in the increase in new HIV cases], but it is also important to recognize that new infections are occurring and people are still coming into the country with infections," David Goldberg, HPS' director of bloodborne viruses and sexually transmitted diseases, said, adding, "Clearly, the increasing number of diagnoses means the demands on existing clinical services associated with the management of HIV are being stretched." Roy Kilpatrick, chief executive of the not-for-profit group HIV Scotland, said the figures indicate a need to increase HIV/AIDS awareness and education, particularly among students in Catholic and rural schools who are not being reached. An unnamed spokesperson for the Scottish Executive said she was disappointed by the rise in new cases but added that about $15 million has been earmarked to fight the epidemic. As many as 3,000 HIV-positive people live in Scotland (Henderson, Herald, 8/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.