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HIV prevalence rising rapidly in much of the UK
  By David Douglas
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Based on past surveys, UK researchers expect to see a large increase in the number of people with HIV in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Most of the growth is predicted to be in those infected heterosexually, according to findings published in the April 9th issue of AIDS.
"Although there is some uncertainty in these estimates," senior author Dr. Barry G. Evans told Reuters Health, "they show the rapid rise in people living with HIV in the UK over the last few years and the likely increase in the near future."
Dr. Evans and colleagues at the Health Protection Agency, London, came to these conclusions after examining data from annual surveys covering prevalent HIV infections from 1996 to 2001.
After adjusting for factors including under-reporting, the researchers found that over this period the increase in prevalence of diagnosed HIV in London was 89%. Beyond London, it was 103% and for the country as a whole, with the exclusion of Scotland, it was 94%.
In total, HIV infections due to sex between men were deemed to have increased by 62% and heterosexual transmission was up by 213%, but the increase attributed to other sources including injection drug use was only 3%.
Based on these figures, a binomial model predicted a further overall increase of 56% in diagnosed HIV prevalence between 2001 and 2004. A linear model predicted a 25% increase over the same period.
This projected upsurge, Dr. Evans concluded, "has great implications for those providing treatment and care services and the pressures on clinical colleagues."
AIDS 2004;18:927-932.


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