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Alarming rise in new Lancashire HIV cases
NEW cases of HIV in Lancashire have jumped 15 per cent — with a growing number of over-50s living with the disease.
There were 93 new cases in Lancashire in 2011, compared to 81 in 2010, and the majority of new cases — 56 per cent — were infected through sex between men.
Eighteen per cent of the new cases were in those aged 50 and over and the age group accounted for 29 per cent of the total 911 accessing treatment for HIV in Lancashire.
In the North West, there has been a 41 per cent increase in the number of new HIV diagnoses among older adults in the past five years, compared with a six per cent decrease in the under 50s.
Jane Harris, lead author of the report for the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University, said: “It is promising that the numbers of people living with HIV to an older age is rising confirming that with treatment and care a HIV diagnosis is no longer a death sentence.
“However, caring for the health needs of older people with HIV will present new challenges and this coupled with an overall increase in new HIV cases show we cannot become complacent.
“Investment in prevention and innovations in treatment are vital to ensuring the best possible health outcomes.”
In total, there were 6,993 people in the North West living with HIV in 2011, a six per cent increase on 2010, and the highest total ever recorded.
Those aged 50 and over now make up 20 per cent of those accessing treatment and care for HIV in the north west.
Older adults with HIV are more likely to experience lifelong illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and to suffer from the side-effects of treatment.