20,000 British people may have HIV without knowing it

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A third of people who have HIV in the UK remain undiagnosed, a report by the Health Protection Agency has found.

Despite over seven thousand new cases being diagnosed in the UK over 2005, almost twenty thousand people with the disease do not know that they are infected.

Deborah Jack, the Chief Executive of the National AIDS trust says the results should be a wake up call to gay men to get tested: “the continuing high numbers of people newly diagnosed with HIV underlines the need for more effective HIV prevention in this country. In addition, the increased estimate in undiagnosed cases is worrying.

Although HIV testing rates have improved, we must do more to encourage gay men, and African-born men and women to take an HIV test if they consider they might have put themselves at risk. Ending the stigma around HIV will be one of the most effective ways we can increase the public willingness to test.”

Ms Jack also called for HIV tests to be offered at times when patients can access them, such as after work hours or at the weekend.