HIV Cases Increasing in Britain, UNICEF Report Says
Recent figures from UNICEF indicate that Britain recorded 7,734 new HIV cases in 2007 -- almost twice the number of cases recorded around 2000 -- London's Metro reports. According to the report, Britain has double the number of recorded HIV cases than any other Western European country. Metro reports that the country now has a record number of 77,000 HIV-positive people and that more than one-quarter of people living with the virus are unaware of their status. The highest numbers of new cases in 2007 were recorded among men who have sex with men and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa, according to UNICEF. The group's United Kingdom executive director, Anita Tiessen, said that the increase in cases is not "simply a case of people coming here with HIV -- there's a behavior issue."
One in 10 new HIV cases in 2007 was recorded among young people ages 16 to 24, and this group also accounted for nearly half of the 40,000 new sexually transmitted infection cases recorded that year. More than four in 10 new HIV cases were recorded among MSM, and Metro reports that cases recorded among this group continue to increase. Tiessen said that Britain's "sizeable" immigrant population from sub-Saharan African might be contributing to the country HIV/AIDS figures; however, she added that sexual behavior among young people also is a key factor and urged government officials to lead "youth-friendly" prevention campaigns. The Department of Health said it will continue funding for organizations such as the Terrance Higgins Trust and the African HIV Policy Network, which target at-risk groups such as MSM and immigrants (Attewill, Metro, 5/7).