THERE are an estimated 4,500 people living with HIV in south central England, a charity has revealed.
The Terrence Higgins Trust, named after the first person in the UK to be publicly identified as dying with Aids 30 years ago, says it is calling for a renewed effort from people to prevent the spread of infection.
The charity says there were 4,500 with HIV – the virus which leads to Aids – in the region in 2010 and 319 new diagnoses of HIV locally – a 21 per cent increase from 2001.
It estimates infection rates could be slashed in the region within a decade.
It calls on expanding testing services, encouraging people to get tested for HIV and STIs regularly, ensure everyone diagnosed is on timely treatment, and reducing the stigma surrounding HIV.
Sue Peters, regional manager for the charity, said: ‘Terry’s death 30 years ago inspired our fight to improve the nation’s sexual health.
‘While there’s still no cure or vaccine for HIV, that doesn’t mean we have to accept its continuing march.’