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AIDS & HIV in the UK

August 25, 2009

Although AIDS gets less attention from the media in the UK than it did during the early history of the UK AIDS epidemic, it’s far from a problem of the past. In fact, the epidemic has expanded, with the annual rate of new HIV diagnoses more than doubling between 1999 and 2003, and peaking in 2005.2 HIV prevalence in the UK is relatively low and estimated at 0.2% of the adult population3
The UK AIDS statistics show that at the end of 2007 there were an estimated 77,400 people living with HIV in the UK, of whom approximately 20,700 were unaware of their infection.4 An estimated 7,660 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2007.5
Relatively low numbers of people in the UK have died from AIDS in recent years thanks to the availability of HAART (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy), which dramatically increases the life expectancy of people living with HIV. In 2007, around 540 HIV-infected persons died, compared to 1,726 in 1995, when antiretroviral treatment for HIV/AIDS was not available. The majority of AIDS related deaths occurred because people were diagnosed late and therefore did not start treatment early enough. In 2007, an estimated 31% of newly diagnosed, HIV-infected adults were diagnosed late.6
Although HIV is often perceived to be a ‘gay’ problem, infections acquired through heterosexual sex account for the largest number of HIV diagnoses in the UK. The majority of people who acquired HIV heterosexually were infected overseas but only became aware of their status after being tested in the UK. In terms of HIV infections actually occurring within the UK, gay men (and other men who have sex with men) accounted for two thirds of new cases.7
Despite the rising numbers of new HIV infections in the UK, public knowledge of HIV and AIDS appears to have declined. While 91% of people in the UK knew that HIV was transmitted through unprotected heterosexual sex in 2000, by 2007 this figure had fallen to 79%8.
Many UK HIV/AIDS organisations are calling for improved sexual health services. The Terrence Higgins Trust, for example, released a 2007 report stating that sexual health services in England remain woefully under prioritised and under funded. It claims that despite the government’s promise of an extra £300 million for sexual health services across the United Kingdom to modernise clinics and reduce waiting times, many GUM (Genitourinary Medicine) clinics remain cramped, out-of-date and understaffed9.
UK regions affected by HIV
In 2007, there were 7,017 HIV diagnoses in England, 385 in Scotland, 193 in Wales and 65 in Northern Ireland.10
London is the epicentre of the UK AIDS epidemic, accounting for around half of all HIV diagnoses in the UK. However, increasing numbers of diagnoses in England are being reported in areas outside the capital, including many places that were not previously associated with HIV. Yorkshire and The Humber, and the East of England both saw almost five-fold increases in annual diagnoses in 2007 compared to 1999. In Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, HIV diagnoses have tended to rise year on year with the biggest proportional increase (though the lowest incidence) occurring in Northern Ireland.11

Tags: UK regions, hiv, UK aids epidemic, UK aids statistic

HIV Prevention - How to Use Condom

August 20, 2009

Here's How:

  1. Check the expiration date on the condom package. Throw out the condom and open a new box if the condom has expired.
  2. Read the directions.
  3. Check the condom wrapper for any punctures by feeling the package/wrapper to see if it contains an air bubble. Throw out the condom if there is no air bubble and try a new one.
  4. Carefully tear open the condom package, making certain not to tear the condom. Inspect the condom for any obvious tears.
  5. The condom should be put on after the penis is erect but before there is any contact between you and your partner. Make sure you are putting the condom on the right way by leaving room at the top. You can do this by pinching the tip of the condom to remove any air. This allows room for the ejaculate after the condom is rolled on the penis.
  6. Make sure that you are rolling it on in the proper direction. Place it on so that it unrolls easily down the outside of the penis. You should not have to put your fingers inside the condom to unroll it.
  7. Begin to roll the condom down the shaft of the penis while holding the tip. There should be room at the end (tip) of the condom, but there should not be any air trapped inside. Continue to roll the condom the rest of the way down the penis.
  8. After ejaculation, make sure to take the condom off properly by holding the rim (base of the condom) firmly while carefully withdrawing your penis. Then, slide the condom off (away from the vagina).
  9. Tie the condom in a knot - away from the vagina. Then you can throw it out in a garbage can. It is not a wise idea to flush a condom down the toilet as this can cause the toilet to clog.

  1. Don’t use condoms once their expiration date has passed, and make sure to store condoms properly (not in hot places or wallets).
  2. Never reuse a condom. You should always change your condom each time you have any type of sex (vaginal, oral or anal). Do not use the same condom if you switch from, let's say, vaginal sex to anal intercourse.
  3. Some people prefer to lubricate the outside of the condom. Using lubrication can help reduce the risk of condom breakage. Make sure to only use water-based lubricants (such as KY jelly, Astroglide, etc) or silicone-based lubricants intended for male condom use. Any oil-based or petroleum-based products (like Vaseline) will compromise the integrity of the condom.
  4. Some men find that putting a little bit of water-based lubricant inside the tip of the condom can increase their pleasure. If you do this, make sure to only use a very small drop as you don’t want the condom to slide off. Keep in mind that frequent use of N-9 (nonoxynol-9) based lubricants could increase your risk of STDs, so do not use lubricants containing N-9 if you are having a lot of sex.
  5. Finally:

    Watch out for fingernails and/or jewelry which can also cause tears in the condom.

    Do not "double-bag" condoms (use two condoms at the same time)

    Never use a male condom with a female condom.
    A parting note about condom use and condom failure, sometimes, no matter what you do, a condom will break. It is always possible that the condom could have been damaged sometime during or after production. Remember, no method is 100% effective!

Tags: UK regions, hiv, UK aids epidemic, UK aids statistic

Are soap and water able to fight AIDS?

August 06, 2009

Soap and water will no doubt prove useful as a tool to reduce HIV transmission in developing countries where condoms are unavailable or negotiation for condom use is impossible. Soap and water is no substitute for proven safer sex methods such as male or female condom use.

Soap and water may prove to be a very effective weapon again HIV. A recent study demonstrated that a bar of soap and tap water mixture decreased HIV viral activation by 30-fold. When soap and water was mixed with washings from a woman's cervix and vagina (CVL) and with seminal fluid (SL) [cum], there was a 57% to 87% decrease in the number of viable peripheral blood mononuclear cells (a type of white blood cell that carries HIV). "The present study demonstrates that soap and water solutions should be effective in inactivating HIV and HIV-infecting cells associated with barrier contraceptives (e.g., diaphragms and female condoms) or cells that are present in the vaginal canal," the researchers conclude.

Dr. Jay A. Levy, coauthor of the report, [said] that "the main message of this research is that regular soap works to kill HIV. Its major use in this regard should be on other instruments, such as diaphragms, used to prevent HIV transmission." Levy emphasized that soap and water should not be used as a douche to eliminate HIV from the vagina. First, this method has not been tested, he stressed. Second, soap can have adverse effects, including disrupting the lining of vagina that might actually make it more susceptible to infection, and altering the normal population of vaginal microbes that can protect against other infections.

Tags: UK regions, hiv, UK aids epidemic, UK aids statistic

Facts about HIV

August 04, 2009

#1: AIDS can be contratced from a dirty toilet seat in a public restroom.
Fact: You cannot get HIV virus, or other STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), from a toilet seat. So, there is no need to rush home every two hours if you plan to go on a shopping spree!

#2: If I swim in the same pool as someone who has AIDS, I risk contracting the disease too.
Fact: The worst thing that can happen to you after a swim at the public pool is probably getting rashes as a result of the not-so-clean pool water.

#3: I can get HIV through kissing an infected person.
Fact: It's not likely that you will get HIV by kissing an infected person. BUT, the virus can be transmitted if you have an open cut or sore in your mouth (which you can get after brushing or flossing). Although the chance of contracting HIV through kissing is very slim in reality. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

#4: The HIV will spread to me if an AIDS patient happens to cough or sneeze in front of me.
Fact: The HIV virus is not airborne, meaning, it does not spread by coughs or sneezes. You can't simply "catch it" like a cold or flu.

#5: I can be infected if an AIDS patient touches me.
Fact: You won't get HIV through everyday contact with infected people at school, work, home or anywhere! The virus cannot be passed on by ordinary physical contact such as touching and holding hands.

#6: I can get AIDS from a mosquito bite.
Fact:When it comes to mosquito bites, you only have to worry about dengue fever. The AIDS virus does not live in mosquitoes, and it is not transmitted through a mosquito's salivary glands like other diseases such as malaria and yellow fever.

#7: I can get AIDS through a blood donation.
Fact: It's true that if you receive blood from an infected person, you are very much at risk of contracting AIDS. But you won't get infected by giving blood. The needles used for blood donation are sterile and discarded immediately after one use.

#8: Tattooing and body piercing will not lead to AIDS.
Fact: The risk of HIV transmission exists if instruments contaminated with blood are not sterilised or disinfected properly upon re-use. The good news, however, is that reputed tattooists and body-piercers in Singapore discard the needles after one use.

In conclusion, there are four fluids that can carry and transmit HIV: blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk. HIV can be transmitted only through contact with these body fluids of an infected person. Stop worrying about the myths you hear. You won't contract HIV from clothes, phones, or toilet seats! Also, things like spoons, cups or other objects used by an infected person do not spread the virus. You should be pretty safe as long as you refrain from having sexual intercourse and sharing of needles or syringes with an infected person.

Tags: UK regions, hiv, UK aids epidemic, UK aids statistic

Can you get HIV from a public toilet?

August 01, 2009

HIV is a retro virus that has a very short lifespan especially when exposed to air.

For someone to acquire HIV from a toilet seat there would have to be some extremely FRESH biological matter present (semen) and the person who sits on this deposit of matter would have to have an open wound that makes direct contact with the semen.

The HIV virus is actually a quite delicate, easily killed virus. It does not survive outside of its human carriers for more than short periods. Specifically, drying kills it.

When different solutions were tested to determine what should be recommended as the universal cleanser for body fluid secretions, every solution tested(alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, betadine, Bactine,etc) were effective. Bleach was chosen since it is so cheap, ubiquitous, and safe. Unless someone just left some wet body fluid, and you had a transfer to a mucous membrane or open wound, it would be possible. It really would take quite a large innoculum (viral load) before there would be a statistically possible transfer. Health care workers have these minor exposures all the time. If it were this deadly, we all would have been gone a long time ago.

Tags: UK regions, hiv, UK aids epidemic, UK aids statistic


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