Heterosexuals 'least likely to know they have HIV': Study finds most adults with Aids had virus for 'several years'

HALF of the adults with Aids in England and Wales only learnt that they were HIV-positive less than a year before the full-blown disease was diagnosed, according to a study.

Men and women who were infected heterosexually were least likely to know they had been infected. The Aids diagnosis was also significant: adolescents and men over 50 were largely ignorant of their HIV status.

Most of the people in the study group had carried the virus for several years, having been infected in the early 1980s.

Professor Ian Weller, of the Middlesex Hospital, London, told the International Aids Conference in Berlin yesterday that the study had worrying implications for the spread of HIV in all groups.

Those infected were missing out on early treatment of the infections associated with Aids which could prolong life and on counselling and support.

Kholoud Porter and colleagues, from the Public Health Laboratory Service, examined reports of 3,556 adults with Aids for whom the dates of the first HIV test and Aids diagnosis were known, between January 1989 and December 1992.

This comprises a substantial proportion of the known Aids cases in the UK; 7,460 cases had been reported to the end of April. The researchers found that 49 per cent of the Aids patients learnt that they were infected within nine months of being diagnosed. More than three-quarters of heterosexuals infected were unaware before this time.

As expected, people who lived outside the Thames area were less likely to know. In 47 per cent of the cases (2,674) reported in the Thames area, the patient was unaware compared with 54 per cent (of a total 882) of reports made outside.

Lack of awareness among infected gay men (2,746) was greater than expected, but more striking still was the 78 per cent of heterosexuals (474) who were unaware. Women and non-whites were less likely to know of their condition. The year of diagnosis was also found to be significant - those diagnosed in 1992 were least likely to know. The researchers said more work was needed to identify and target this group for health education and treatment purposes.

Condoms and needle-exchange programmes and bleach to clean injecting equipment should be available to prisoners to limit the spread of HIV, the World Health Organisation, said yesterday.

Leading article, page 25

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor