Crawley has worst HIV rate in West Sussex, report says

Health news. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150730-111621001
Health news. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150730-111621001

Rates of HIV in Crawley are the highest in West Sussex, a new report has revealed.

With the exception of Brighton and Hove, Crawley borough had the highest rates HIV of any district in East Sussex and West Sussex with between 3 and 3.99 people in every 1,000 aged between 15 and 59 living with HIV.

In comparison to Crawley, the districts of Worthing, Adur, Eastbourne, Hastings, Lewes had between 2 and 2.99 people with HIV in every thousand in 2014.

Mid Sussex, Chichester, Arun and Rother recorded between 1 and 1.99 people per every thousand people.

In 2014, Brighton and Hove had the most cases of diagnosed HIV on the south coast, with more than 4 in every 1,000 people diagnosed with HIV.

The number of people living with HIV is continuing to rise in the UK – according to a report by Public Health England.

The report said more than 85,000 people in the UK were seen for HIV care in 2014 and 6,151 people were diagnosed with the virus.

HIV is most prevalent in London – which had almost half of new diagnosis at 2,671 – and the south east of England.

Two out of five people newly diagnosed with HIV in 2014 in the UK had ‘late stage’ HIV, and of 613 people with HIV who died last year, most had been diagnosed late.

Sexual Health West Sussex, which runs a clinic in Crawley cares for more than 500 people living with HIV.

Speaking in November, Nicki Amas, clinical matron, Sexual Health West Sussex said: “There are many treatments now available to keep the spread of the virus under control and the earlier you know your diagnosis, the greater the opportunity to manage your condition.”

Natika Halil, chief executive of FPA, a sexual health charity, said: “The proportion of late diagnoses has decreased but it is still high at 40 per cent, and particularly so among black African people (58 per cent) and heterosexual men (61 per cent).

“Once diagnosed and on treatment, people with HIV can expect a near-normal life span, so it is vital for us to increase testing.

“It’s also important to consider that one in six people now living with HIV in the UK is aged over 55.

“As we have more and more people living with HIV in older age, we must ensure suitable care and support is in place, especially in managing HIV along with other conditions they may have.”

One fifth – 21 per cent – of English local authorities had a diagnosed HIV prevalence above 2 per 1,000 in 2014.

The report said: “There is an urgent need to increase HIV testing opportunities and uptake for people living in these areas, in line with national HIV testing guidelines.”

In 2014 an estimated 3,360 men acquired HIV through sex with men, with 2,490 people – 1,065 men and 1,425 women – acquired HIV through heterosexual sex.

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