Health Care

Researchers: 25 Percent of People with HIV Don't Know They're Infected

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New research has shown that a quarter of the people who are HIV positive have no idea they are infected.

According to The Daily Mail, those people may pass on up to 75 percent of new cases. Dr Ann Sullivan, from the Sexual Health Centre at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, said that straight men are the least likely to be tested.

Dr Sullivan said: “Those who don't know they are infected are responsible for between 50 and 75 per cent of new infections. That is a hugely disproportional number of people passing on HIV.”

She points out the passing on the virus is not a blameless act and that those who choose to have sex without protection should be responsible and get tested. Although testing positive for HIV is not the death sentence that it once was, people are still scared to get tested. That being said, clearly this isn't a smart move seeing as people who are diagnosed late are much more likely to die from AIDS.

Dr. Sullivan has started to speak out after her study on HIV was published in the online journal Sexually Transmitted Infections. She was critical of the way people behave at health clinics.

“The reasons why they don't come clean about their HIV status may be that they don't want to be ‘judged,’ given that they have come to the clinic with another infection, which implies they are indulging in risky sexual behavior,” said Dr. Sullivan.

“But by not revealing their HIV status, they could be missing out on the chance to be treated more holistically and discuss other aspects of their health which might be affected by HIV.”

Dr. Sullivan believes that spreading awareness about HIV and AIDS will improve things.

“We need another big campaign because there is a lack of knowledge. People remember those scary ads from the 80s with the tombstone. That was right for the time, but things have moved on. AIDS is not a death sentence, or indeed is it anything to be ashamed of.”

Source:  (The Daily Mail