10:35pm Tuesday 22 August 2017

HIV testing rates increasing among African people in England

CondomsThe proportion of African people in England testing for HIV has increased over the past five years, according to a report led by researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

People of African descent living in England are at a much higher risk of contracting HIV than many other sections of the population and official recommendations suggest they test for HIV on a regular basis. Early testing enables earlier diagnosis and treatment, which increases the likelihood of a person leading a healthy life and reduces the chances of them transmitting HIV to others.

The study also found that the proportion of those African people in England who have tested for HIV within the last 12 months is highest among those under 30. But nearly a third of the 1,026 people who took part in the survey said they had never tested for HIV.

While many of those who had previously tested for HIV said they would prefer to visit a specialist sexual health clinic if they wanted to test again in the future, those who had not tested before said they would prefer to do so at their GP, or utilise a HIV home testing kit (which have recently been licensed for use).

There was also evidence of a high incidence of condom failure among respondents to the survey, with more than a quarter (26%) having experienced condom breakage or slippage during sexual intercourse within the previous 12 months. Such problems were more commonly experienced by younger men and women.

Lead author Dr Adam Bourne, Lecturer at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “This research indicates that there have been some successes in HIV prevention and sexual health campaigns over the past five years, but there are still a significant proportion of an at-risk community who are in need of supportive health promotion interventions.”

Cary James, Head of Programmes at the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “The better we understand needs of Black African communities in England the better we can tailor the work of HIV Prevention England to meet those needs. The African Health & Sex Survey provides the insight we required to produce more effective resources and more impactful interventions.”

Jabulani Chwaula, Programme Manager at the BHA for Equality, said: “This is a timely and significant report that gives insight into what and where targeted HIV prevention responses and investment should be focused. We need to ensure that African people living in England understand the benefits of HIV testing and know that treatment will be freely available to them if they need it. Some people are clearly still struggling with effective condom use and we should be doing all we can to support them.”

The research was led by the Sigma Research group at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and carried out in collaboration with a large partnership of HIV charities from across the country. The research was funded by the Terrence Higgins Trust on behalf of HIV Prevention England,
Publication

    Bourne A, Reid D, Weatherburn P (2014) African Health & Sex Survey 2013-2014: Headline findings. London: Sigma Research, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

 London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Keppel Street London WC1E 7HTTel: +44 (0) 20 7636 8636
 

Testing for HIV in the last year highest among younger people

CondomsThe proportion of African people in England testing for HIV has increased over the past five years, according to a report led by researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

People of African descent living in England are at a much higher risk of contracting HIV than many other sections of the population and official recommendations suggest they test for HIV on a regular basis. Early testing enables earlier diagnosis and treatment, which increases the likelihood of a person leading a healthy life and reduces the chances of them transmitting HIV to others.

The study also found that the proportion of those African people in England who have tested for HIV within the last 12 months is highest among those under 30. But nearly a third of the 1,026 people who took part in the survey said they had never tested for HIV.

While many of those who had previously tested for HIV said they would prefer to visit a specialist sexual health clinic if they wanted to test again in the future, those who had not tested before said they would prefer to do so at their GP, or utilise a HIV home testing kit (which have recently been licensed for use).

There was also evidence of a high incidence of condom failure among respondents to the survey, with more than a quarter (26%) having experienced condom breakage or slippage during sexual intercourse within the previous 12 months. Such problems were more commonly experienced by younger men and women.

Lead author Dr Adam Bourne, Lecturer at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “This research indicates that there have been some successes in HIV prevention and sexual health campaigns over the past five years, but there are still a significant proportion of an at-risk community who are in need of supportive health promotion interventions.”

Cary James, Head of Programmes at the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “The better we understand needs of Black African communities in England the better we can tailor the work of HIV Prevention England to meet those needs. The African Health & Sex Survey provides the insight we required to produce more effective resources and more impactful interventions.”

Jabulani Chwaula, Programme Manager at the BHA for Equality, said: “This is a timely and significant report that gives insight into what and where targeted HIV prevention responses and investment should be focused. We need to ensure that African people living in England understand the benefits of HIV testing and know that treatment will be freely available to them if they need it. Some people are clearly still struggling with effective condom use and we should be doing all we can to support them.”

The research was led by the Sigma Research group at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and carried out in collaboration with a large partnership of HIV charities from across the country. The research was funded by the Terrence Higgins Trust on behalf of HIV Prevention England,

Publication

Image: Condoms. Credit: Freeimages/LotusHead

– See more at: http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/newsevents/news/2014/hiv_testing_rates.html#sthash.XXxHY9gu.dpuf


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