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British HIV Rates Up 20 Percent

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LONDON, Nov 24, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- New cases of HIV, which causes AIDS, have risen in Britain by 20 percent since 2001, the Health Protection Agency said Monday.

High-risk sex among gay and bisexual men, and an increase in sexually transmitted infections have contributed to the increase, the agency said.

"The group most at risk of contracting HIV in the United Kingdom remains gay and bisexual men, accounting for about 80 percent of the new diagnoses in 2002," Dr. Kevin Fenton, an AIDS expert at the agency, told Sky News.

The number of people living with the virus in the Britain is nearly 50,000.

Fenton said the number of heterosexual infections of HIV/AIDS has risen from 147 in 1998 to 275 in 2002 and was also linked to sexually transmitted infections.

The increase in such infections is putting extra pressure on British clinics because some patients have to wait weeks to get an appointment.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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