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UK HIV diagnosis rates remain high

The number of new HIV diagnoses made in the UK in 2004 now stands at 5016, and is expected to rise to around 7000 by the time all late reports are in, according to new figures from the HPA. This compares to figures of 5047 for the same period in 2003. Although the new statistics demonstrate a slight drop in diagnoses made, they do not represent the number of people actually infected during this period, just those who took a test.

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New generic drugs factory opens in Gabon

A brand new factory that will manufacture drugs to treat HIV, malaria and TB was opened in Libreville, the capital of Gabon on Saturday.

The factory, which will provide access to treatment for 30 million people currently living in Gabon and five other central African nations, was set up with the help of Brazilian technology and expertise. Brazil began providing free treatment to all HIV+ people in the country several years ago, after the government helped to set up a major generic ARV drugs industry there.

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Increase in HIV+ blood donors

The number of blood donors with HIV is at its highest level in 16 years according to papers obtained from the UK's National Blood Service. The rise is believed to be closely linked to the increase in HIV levels among the population in general. In 2003, 42 people who gave blood were found to be carrying the virus, a two-fold increase on 1997 – 2002 figures.

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Conservatives propose compulsory HIV checks for immigrants

The UK Conservative party would enforce a policy of HIV, TB and Hepatitis testing for all non-European migrants if they win the next general election, according to the Tory leader, Michael Howard. However, only those found to have TB would be automatically excluded from entering the country. Immigrants found to have HIV and Hepatitis would have their cases reviewed on an individual basis.

At present, the UK is unusual in not testing for HIV among immigrants. Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada all have stringent testing policies for those wishing to emigrate.

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Rising rates of HIV among older generation being ‘ignored’

The levels of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections among people over 45 are on the increase, but are being ignored by most sexual health experts according to new book published by the Royal Society of Medicine Press this week.

Statistics compiled by both the CDC in the US and the HPA in the UK have demonstrated a steady rise in prevalence among older people for a number of years, but as yet, very little has been done to address the problem.

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DoH to announce plans for new STI clinics in pharmacies

The Department of Health is set to announce plans for a range of Sexual Health screening services to be provided in high street pharmacies according to The Daily Mirror newspaper. Pregnancy testing, contraception and STI screening are all expected to be made available in branches of Boots and other pharmacies as part of the government’s drive to lower STI rates and cut waiting times at Family Planning and Sexual Health clinics.

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Teachers give full support to more detailed sex education

An impressive 98% percent of UK teachers believe that young people should be taught about contraception at school according to a new poll carried out by the Times Educational Supplement.

The survey, which sought to gain the opinions of 700 teachers around the UK, also discovered that 82% of younger teachers (74% overall) would be happy to tell pupils that being gay or lesbian was nothing to be ashamed of.

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