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Call for under-25s HIV screening

People aged under 25 should be screened for HIV, sexual health charities have claimed.

The call comes after it was revealed that around 13,000 Britons in that group have the infection.

Claims that one in four people with the condition in the UK are unaware they have it also back up the call for routine screening.

Testing at hospitals or GP surgeries would achieve more early diagnoses, according to the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASSH) and NAM Aidsmap.

Presently only those considered most at risk, such as sexually active gay men, black Africans living in the UK or drug addicts who share needles, are screened routinely.

HIV breaks down the body's immune system and has no cure. Left untreated it can develop into AIDS.

Dr Steven Taylor, a leading consultant at Birmingham's Heartlands HIV Service and spokesman for BASHH, said: "One of the reasons that GPs and doctors don't often offer HIV tests is that we have a perception of what someone with HIV looks like.

"The average person on the street just doesn't feature on the radar."

Copyright © Press Association 2010


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"This is a positive step forward as many young people believe they are not at risk to HIV because they have only had sexual contact once or twice. Also it normalises the infection as there are treatments available to manage those diagnosed and early diagnoses certainly is beneficial" - Judith Doe, Essex