Website for gay men newly diagnosed with HIV launched

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A new interactive website aims to tackle the isolation many gay men feel when they are first diagnosed as HIV+.

‘What next?’ is the first web resource of its kind in the UK.

It is funded by the Department of Health.

Using diaries and video clips of men describing their personal experiences and offering tips and advice, the site gives information on finding out you are HIV+, telling people, health, sex and love, dealing with medical staff and information on HIV, treatment and transmission.

The most recent statistics on HIV infection show that 2,700 men who have sex with men were diagnosed in 2006, the highest number since the epidemic began.

82% of these men probably acquired HIV in the UK.

Across the UK 1 in 20 gay and bisexual men are now living with HIV and estimates suggest this figure is as high as 1 in 10 in London.

11% of new diagnoses in 2006 were among 16 to 24 year olds.

Marc Thompson, deputy head of health promotion at Terrence Higgins Trust, said:

“Being diagnosed with HIV can make people feel like they’re on an emotional roller coaster.

“Many people are left feeling quite alone or feel like they have hundreds of questions to ask.

“This site aims to give all the practical information gay men might want after they’ve been diagnosed, but also gives personal accounts of what it’s actually like living with HIV day to day.

“Advice and tips from men who’ve been through the same thing can be invaluable.”