- 3 updates
Shocking figures have revealed just how many people in the south are living with HIV. While new cases nationally have fallen slightly, here, in some areas, they've hit record levels - with a dramatic rise in the number of hetrosexual people contracting it.
There are nearly 8,000 people with HIV in our region. Brighton and Hove is a hot spot and has the highest rate of HIV outside of London.
In the last ten years there has been a 150% increase in the number of people accessing treatment for HIV in the south. The message from experts is get tested - and that HIV is not a death sentence.
This from Charlotte Wilkins who speaks to HIV patient John Cook, Paula Evenden, from The Sussex Beacon and Ross Boseley from The Terence Higgins Trust.
The number of people living with HIV in the South East has reached an estimated 7,712, according to figures released by the Health Protection Agency (HPA).
3,336 people are accessing HIV treatment - this is a 92% increase since 2002 when there were 1,156 cases.
Of these cases, 30% (1,099 cases) are thought to have acquired their infection from men who have sex with men, whilst 62% (2,231 cases) of cases are likely to have acquired their infection from heterosexual activity.
Professor Jackie Cassell, from the South East HPA said: "These figures are a reminder how vital safe sex programmes remain. We must continue to promote HIV testing and condom use, in order to tackle the high rates of transmission, late diagnosis and undiagnosed HIV still seen in the UK."
Latest ITV News reports
A record number of people in the UK are living with HIV, new figures show, but a quarter of people don't realise they've been infected.