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As the number of people in the UK being infected by HIV doubles over the past decade experts are telling GPs to suggest testing to all adult male patients in certain regions.
Numbers of new cases aquired in the UK have risen from under 2,000 in 2001 to nearly 3,800 in last year.
The most affected group is amongst men who have sex with men (where infection rates have increased by 70%) and they are the target population for professionals and campaigners.
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has revised its guidelines for doctors in England suggesting routine HIV testing to all men who register with a practice where there is a high proportion of men who have sex with men or where there is already a high prevalence of HIV (equivelent to two diagnosed cases per 1,000 people). Hospitals in these areas are also being urged to follow suit .
Dr Valerie Delpech Head of HIV surveillance at the HPA said "These expanded HIV testing policies should be prioritised for implementation as soon as possible”
NICE believes this higher profile policy will stop the spread of HIV by identifying men at risk, NICE believes, and as it is estimated a third of all HIV cases are undiagnosed at the present time, will raise awareness levels significantly.
There is also concern about infection rates within the black African community living in England, where in 2009, over 2,000 were diagnosed as having an HIV infection, representing a third of all new diagnoses in the UK.
Amongst the areas being targets are Brighton And Hove, Manchester, and many parts of London.
"HIV is still a serious problem in this country, with a large proportion of people unaware they are infected” said Professor Mike Kelly from NICE said.
"This new guidance from NICE makes a number of practical recommendations which aim to increase HIV testing by encouraging healthcare professionals to offer it routinely to people in areas where there are a high number of people living with HIV.”
HIV charities have responded saying guidelines were a "vital step forward”.
MoneyMaxim offer practical financial help and support to those affected with HIV – having relationships with travel insurers such as World First or Its So Easy, who both offer cover for those who are HIV positive as well as offering a comparison service for those looking for civil partnership insurance.
We also offer access to a range of life assurers who specialise in this field – for help in this area give our confidential helpline a call – ring 0800 520 0699 or 0118 321 8197, press option three, and ask to speak to David.