Fewer getting HIV tests in South Tyne

Fewer people in South Tyneside are coming forward for HIV tests, according to new figures.

Fewer getting HIV tests.
Fewer getting HIV tests.

Figures from the UK Health Security Agency show 990 patients in the area were tested for HIV in 2021 – below pre-pandemic levels for the second year running.

Medical advance mean those who receive treatment for HIV in time can expect the same quality of life as anyone else and the NHS advises anyone who thinks they may have HIV to get tested as soon as possible.

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The data for South Tyneside shows that 2021 saw the equivalent of 53.2% of those eligible in the area get a test – lower than 2019 when 61.8% were tested, but up from 2020, when the figure was 47%.

Across the North East, 85 new cases of HIV were diagnosed last year, including five in South Tyneside.

This was a decrease from the 101 cases registered in 2019, although this may partly be explained by lower rates of testing.

Nationally, testing has stalled at 45.8% for the last two years, a significant decline on 64.9% in 2019.

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Deborah Gold, chief executive of the National Aids Trust, said: “This data is concerning and shows the Government isn’t doing enough to end HIV and will miss its target of ending HIV by 2030."

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Sexual health services are recovering to their pre-pandemic levels and more people are able to access services more easily.

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"We are diagnosing thousands of sexually transmitted infections faster."