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Report: U.K. gay men waiting too long to get tested for HIV

Report: U.K. gay men waiting too long to get tested for HIV

About 5% of gay or bisexual men diagnosed with HIV infection in England and Wales die within one year of diagnosis because they weren't tested for HIV antibodies until they already had developed AIDS-related complications, according to a new health ministry report, reports HIVandHepatitis.com. In total, about one quarter of gay HIV-positive men in the United Kingdom are diagnosed while in late-stage HIV disease. A late HIV diagnosis typically means that the body's immune system has been severely damaged and also results in the late start of lifesaving antiretroviral drugs. Health officials add that late HIV diagnoses lead to the spread of HIV because people who are unaware that they carry the virus may be unknowingly exposing others to HIV through unprotected sex or shared injection drug equipment. The report recommends that health care providers urge all their gay and bisexual male patients to undergo regular HIV antibody testing to catch infections in the earliest stages. It also calls for more targeted health promotion campaigns to emphasize safer sex and HIV testing among at-risk gay men in the country.

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