STI diagnoses remain key to HIV prevention

GPs should focus more on the sexual health needs of migrant and homosexual patients to ensure that STIs are diagnosed as early as possible, according to a report from the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

This is important because they are at a higher risk of contracting HIV than other members of the population.  

Testing should also be performed earlier because many infections are being diagnosed late leading to reduced life expectancies, the report says.  

Advice comes with the HPA’s latest figures for the number of cases of HIV and other STIs like chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhoea, which continue to increase in the UK. The report showed that in 2005 there were 63,500 adults aged 15–59 living with HIV in the UK.  

There were 7,450 diagnoses of HIV in 2005. In 2004 there were 7,492 cases of HIV and 7,283 in 2003. This suggests that the level of new cases of HIV is stabilising, but not yet decreasing within the UK.  

Despite GUM clinics performing 1.8 million sexual health screenings, the report calls for improvements to be made to the sexual health services on offer. 

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