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PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERTS WARN AGAINST COMPLACENCY

December 19, 2006 12:49 PM

Public health experts from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde today warned against complacency as the latest AIDS (Control) Act Report 2005/06 was presented to the Board.

Greater Glasgow had 116 newly diagnosed cases during 2005/06.  The largest group of new cases was amongst men who have sex with men  - 48% of the total new cases reported. 

Doctors are keen to spread the message that safer sex can protect against HIV transmission and other sexually transmitted diseases, and are urging people to use protection over the festive period.

However, on a positive note, a new ante-natal screening programme has successfully identified virtually all HIV positive women who attend Glasgow's maternity hospitals. This has been a highly effective and successful screening programme and a recent evaluation suggests that approximately eight HIV positive women every year in Glasgow would have remained undiagnosed if the programme did not exist.

Now these women have the chance to receive lifesaving treatments both for themselves and can also prevent their babies from becoming infected.

Dr Linda de Caestecker, Director of Public Health, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: "Effective drug therapies mean that hundreds of HIV-positive Scots can live relatively healthy lives for many years after they are first diagnosed. But there is no cure for this disease, and that's why prevention is as important as ever. Many people are continuing to put themselves at risk by having unprotected sex."
 
"The myth still persists in some places that HIV/Aids is an illness that affects particular groups of people, and that's just not the case. Anyone can be vulnerable to HIV whether they are men or women, gay people or straight people, young or old.

"If anyone is worried about HIV, an appointment can be made to be seen at the Sandyford Initiative, where testing and counselling is provided in confidence."

A free, confidential sexual and reproductive health service - including HIV testing - is available at the Sandyford Initiative and at the Brownlee Centre on the Gartnavel Hospital site. Help is also now available at Sandyford Southeast, Sandyford East and Sandyford Inverclyde, the first three in a planned series of Hub clinics across the city, where advice and information is available in a number of languages other than English.

For more information please see www.sandyford.org, call the Sandyford Initiative on 0141 211 8601 or call the Brownlee Centre on 0141 211 1075.


ENDS


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