- 13 updates
An estimated 25,000 Britons are infected with HIV and don't know it, the Health Protection Agency has announced.
The figure has prompted the Prime Minister to mark World Aids Day by calling for better education about HIV-AIDS to stop preventable deaths, as ITV News's Martha Fairlie reports:
There is a stark warning on World Aids Day that 25,000 people in the UK are infected with the HIV virus, without knowing about it. It raises concerns that they are not getting potentially lifesaving treatment early enough and could be passing it on and infecting others.
Experts say the number of cases is actually falling in hotspots such as Africa and America, leading David Cameron to call for better education about the condition and more routine testing. Watch this report from Martha Fairlie.
Paul Ward of the Terrence Higgins Trust has said that there is still more to be done in the fight against HIV and Aids.
Speaking before a service to mark World Aids Day, Mr Ward told ITV News; "the real challenge we've got is the 25% of those people who have not been diagnosed. What we would like to see is... much more work to expand the access and make it much easier to take an HIV test."
Actor Simon Callow, who performed a reading at a service to commemorate World Aid Day, told ITV News about the continuing importance of the day and increasing awareness of HIV and Aids.
He said; "Aids is still present, we have not found a cure for Aids. People are still dying of Aids all over the world.
"In Britain it's very tragic to think that there are people who behave as if Aids didn't exists, and that is madness absolute madness.
"One of the great points of World Aids Day is to say, the battle isn't won by any means at all, and you are at daily risk."
In a video message to mark World Aids Day Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said that, "despite the huge progression in life saving drugs, stigma of the condition still exists.
"This stigma not only harms those most vulnerable in society it also makes them afraid to open up, to seek advice or to talk about HIV related risk."
Veteran LGBT activist Peter Tatchell has said that the UK government is failing gay and bisexual men on HIV.
In a statement Mr Tatchell said;
"Quite clearly, the UK government’s HIV strategy is flawed. It is failing gay and bisexual men. Ministers have dropped the ball. They’re complacent.
Moreover, too many gay and bisexual are not taking HIV seriously and not getting regular check ups."
Mr Tatchell went on to say;
"We can’t carry on with the current rate of new gay and straight HIV infections. It’s straining the NHS during a period of austerity and, more importantly, turning too many people’s lives upside down."
Labour leader Ed Miliband has said that it is important to challenge the stigma surrounding those with HIV and Aids, in a video message he said:
"Let's stand up for their rights, let's stand up for their inclusion in our society and let's stand up against prejudice wherever we find it."
In a new video released to mark World Aids Day, the Prime Minister has hailed the advances in the treatment of HIV and Aids and the role played by the NHS, but said that there is "still a long way to go."
Mr Cameron said: "In the past decade or so enormous strides have been made, and today a diagnosis of HIV, in a country like the UK, isn't a death sentence.
"Life expectancy for many people living with HIV is increasing and we can be so proud of the part that our NHS has played in this - not just treating people with clinical care, but supporting people with emotional care."