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TV medic Dr Ranj takes an HIV test live on This Morning
HIV is treatable if caught early, with 97% of those on therapy in the UK being “virally suppressed”, National AIDS Trust (NAT) statistics show. This means they cannot pass the virus on even if they have unprotected sex.
Left untreated, however, HIV can develop into acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
This occurs when the immune system is so severely damaged by HIV, the patient is at risk of life-threatening infections and diseases.
Data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization for Europe found women made up one third of the 141,000 HIV diagnoses in the continent last year.
While most women are told they have the infection late, patients in their forties were up to four times more likely to have a delay in their diagnosis than their younger counterparts.
Late diagnosis was defined as a specific immune cell count of less than 350 cells/mm³. Healthy levels are generally considered between 500 and 1,200 cells/mm³.
Overall, countries in central Europe had six times fewer diagnoses among women than men last year, while those in the EU and European Economic Area – like Iceland and Norway – had three times less.
READ MORE: Prince Harry teams up with ex-rugby player Gareth Thomas to break HIV stigma
“We do not know why but it seems systems and testing efforts in Europe are failing women”, Dr Andrea Ammon, ECDC director, said.
TV medic Dr Ranj Singh previously claimedwomen are now more “sexually liberated”, while high divorce rates mean many have new partners in later life.
Having gone through the menopause, some also mistakenly believe they do not need to use condoms, he added.
In the UK alone, 103,800 people are thought to be living with HIV, NAT statistics show. Of these, one in 14 are unaware they carry the infection.
While AIDS’ exact prevalence is unclear, there were 428 “AIDS-related deaths” in England alone last year, according to the charity Avert.
Rugby How does HIV spread?
HIV spreads via certain bodily fluids, including those in the vagina, semen, blood and breast milk, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs. It cannot be transmitted via tears, sweat, faeces or urine.
Unprotected vaginal or anal sex is the most common route of infection.
Anal sex may be particularly problematic due to the lining of the anus being more delicate than
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