Gay men are being warned about the risk of contracting HIV as figures show a higher rate of new diagnoses. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) nearly 40% of the 7,370 cases of HIV in 2008 were in gay men; double the number of a decade ago.

Recent studies into sexual behaviour have suggested that there are still high numbers of gay men that engage in unprotected sex, but new diagnoses of HIV within the gay community has fallen slightly over the past few years.

HIV expert at the HPA, Dr Barry Evans said: “Gay men continue to be the group in the UK most at risk of acquiring HIV”.

Adding that, “Safe sex is the best way to protect against HIV infection.”

The figures show that overall new diagnoses had fallen from 7,660 in 2007, and that cases affecting gay men was also down from 3,050 to 2,830, but the HPA was still concerned about the number of late diagnoses, with around 20% of gay men’s diagnoses coming beyond the point when treatment should of started; this greatly increases the chance of death within the first year.

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