Sexual Health news - Sexual Health and Behavior

HIV cases increasing in the UK

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, new cases of HIV have remained stable in America in recent years, with about 50,000 people becoming infected each year. Additionally, the agency reports that men who have sex with men continue to be more affected by the virus than other groups. 

However, scientists in the U.K. say new infections among gay and bisexual men continue to increase. A November 2012 study found what is described as a "worrying" trend among these men. The research conducted by the country's Health Protection Agency found that, since 2007, new cases of HIV are rapidly increasing in the gay community. In fact, nearly one in 12 homosexuals living in London have the virus, and nearly one in 20 individuals in the rest of the country have it.

A separate study, conducted by the U.K. Medical Research Council's Biostatistics Unit, found that although testing has increased, there are no signs of a decline in new cases of the virus among gay and bisexual men. While infection rates remained stable between 2001 and 2010, researchers found the number of men who have sex with men being tested in clinics went up from 16,000 to 59,000 a year, the time from infection to diagnosis fell, and the number taking antiretroviral therapy increased from 69 percent to 80 percent. 

"Perhaps a resurgence of unsafe sexual practice might be fueling the spread of HIV or perhaps testing is not very targeted," researcher Daniela De Angelis, M.D., told BBC News. 

Health officials say the findings undermine the importance of regular testing, especially for high-risk individuals.

"Men who have sex with men should get an HIV and STI screen at least annually, and every three months if having unprotected sex with new or casual partners," Valerie Delpech, M.D., head of HIV surveillance for the Health Protection Agency, recently told the news source. "We urge clinicians to take every opportunity to offer the test to this group."