Scotland Records More Than 100 New HIV Cases During First Three Months of 2009
More than 100 new HIV cases were reported in Scotland between January and March, bringing the total number of cases recorded to date to 5,901, according to a recently released report from Health Protection Scotland, the PA/Press and Journal reports. The report showed that 64% of the 109 new cases were among men and that 50 cases were recorded in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area, which has seen an increasing number of cases in recent years (Bussey, PA/Press and Journal, 4/22).
The report also indicated an increase in the number of cases among pregnant women, up to 27 last year from 22, BBC News reports. All pregnant women have been offered routine HIV screening since 2003, according to BBC News (BBC News, 4/22). Forty-three of the new cases were believed to be acquired by residents while they were outside of Scotland. The most common mode of transmission was heterosexual sex with 54 cases. Meanwhile, 23 cases were suspected to be among men who have sex with men, while three were likely transmitted through injection drug use, the PA/Press and Journal reports.
Catherine Murphy of the Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland said that in recent years, Glasgow has seen a "significant increase" in HIV cases, adding that cases continue to increase across the country and that one-quarter of HIV-positive residents are unaware of their status. Murphy called for increased condom use and HIV testing. Health spokesperson Ross Finnie said the report's findings are a "wake-up call for those people who think that HIV is a disease confined to the" 1980s, adding, "It is clear HIV is still on the rise in Scotland." He emphasized the need for more education "across all age groups and all areas about the dangers of HIV" and sexually transmitted infections (PA/Press and Journal, 4/22).