More than 7,000 living with HIV

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Latest figures show an estimated 7,712 people are living with HIV in the south east.

The statistics were revealed in the aftermath of of World Aids Day which was on Saturday December 1 as people in East Sussex were encouraged to learn more about HIV so they can look after their own health and inform and educate others.

The latest figures, released by the Health Protection Agency in its HIV in the UK 2012 report show of the 7,712 people affected, 4,376 of those are accessing treatment.

Some 55 per cent of these are thought to have acquired their infection from men who have sex with men, while 40 per cent, 1,930 cases, are likely to have acquired their infection from heterosexual activity.

Since the epidemic began in the 1980s, more than 20,000 people with HIV have died in the UK. Advances in treatment mean that nowadays there are fewer than 700 deaths among people with HIV each year in the UK. Many of these are among people who are diagnosed late and therefore miss out on the benefits treatment could bring.

A spokesperson said, “Starting treatment at the right time, and giving your doctor all the information he or she needs to ensure you are prescribed the best treatment for your situation, is really important. This can only be done if you test early. There are no obvious signs or symptoms if you become infected with HIV.

Further information about HIV is now available at most GP surgeries and pharmacies and anyone who thinks they may have been put at risk of HIV and wants a free test should go along to the sexual health clinics at Avenue House in The Avenue or ask their GP.