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London represents almost half of new HIV diagnoses in the UK

SUPPORT: People marching at a protest for HIV and Aids

IT'S BEEN revealed that there were 2,603 new diagnoses of HIV in London according to HIV in the UK 2016, which was published today to coincide with World AIDS Day.

These statistics were discovered in the Public Health England (PHE) report, which also shared that: an estimated 4,420 people in London have HIV but are unaware they are infected, HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) remains high in London and more heterosexuals were diagnosed with HIV in London than anywhere else in the country last year.

Although testing and treatment for HIV is free and available to all, many Londoners living with HIV remain undiagnosed and rates of late diagnosis remain high. Late diagnosis of HIV is associated with poorer health outcomes, including premature death.

Speaking on the shocking statistics, Yvonne Doyle, the London regional director for Public Health England said: "Testing for HIV is vital to ensure people are diagnosed as promptly as possible. There is effective treatment available and those who are diagnosed early can expect to live long and healthy lives. Early diagnosis is also key to preventing onward transmission of the infection."

"There is great work ongoing in the capital to tackle the HIV epidemic. London boroughs have shown strong leadership in coming together to lead and deliver the London HIV Prevention Programme, a city-wide sexual health promotion initiative. The programme includes the Do It London sexual health campaign which aims to increase HIV testing and promote safer sex to all residents in the capital."

PHE is working to reduce the number of people living with undiagnosed HIV by improving access to testing and is funding HIV home-sampling test kits which can be ordered at www.freetesting.hiv.

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