Northern Ireland

HIV: Northern Ireland has largest proportional rise in UK

HIV test
Image caption The Public Health Agency says it wants more people to come forward for tests

Northern Ireland has had the largest proportional increase in new cases of HIV in the UK since 2000.

In its annual report the Public Health Agency (PHA) said more than 700 people in Northern Ireland received care for the infection last year.

The PHA's Dr Gillian Armstrong said they would like to see more people come forward for testing.

"There will be people in Northern Ireland who are living with HIV who do not know," she said.

"We'd really like to stress the importance of coming to get tested if you think you've put yourself at risk.

"Early testing and getting a diagnosis helps you get treatment that you need and the treatments are very good these days and also help you to protect your loved ones and your sexual partners."

The annual number of new diagnoses of HIV made in Northern Ireland was 95 in 2012 and 94 in 2013.

However, compared with the rest of the UK, Northern Ireland had the largest proportional increase in new HIV diagnoses between 2000 and 2013.

Of the new diagnoses of HIV in Northern Ireland in 2013, 57% occurred in men who have sex with men.

Seven hundred and forty-nine HIV-infected residents of Northern Ireland received care for the virus during 2013.

HIV/AIDS can be transmitted through sexual contact, sharing needles and syringes, and transmission from mother to child before, during, or shortly after birth.

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