On the Agenda - Rise in HIV cases among over-fifties

In a nutshell HIV infections diagnosed in the over-fifties more than doubled over a seven-year period, according to research by the Health Protection Agency, which found the number of cases rose from 299 in 2000, to 710 new cases in 2007.

HIV rates rising: among over 50s
HIV rates rising: among over 50s
What else did it find?

During the eight-year study period, three-quarters of HIV-related deaths among people aged 50 and above occurred within one year of diagnosis, with half of those diagnosed late. The research also found that when compared with younger adults with HIV, older people were significantly more likely to have been infected through sex with men.

What is the HPA hoping to achieve?

Senior HIV scientist at the HPA's Centre for Infections Ruth Smith said: 'We must continually reinforce the safe sex message - using a condom with all new or casual partners is the surest way to ensure people do not become infected with HIV.'

PR strategy

A press release was sent out to national print, broadcast, specialist health and gay press, as well as websites and agencies under embargo.

Media coverage

Lead report author Dr Valerie Delpech gave a pre-recorded interview to BBC Breakfast, which used it throughout the programme. She also gave live interviews to the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, BBC Radio 5live Breakfast, BBC Radio Wales and Sky Radio News. Main print and online coverage included The Times, The Guardian,The Independent and BBC News Online.

83k - The number of people in the UK living with HIV

25% - of those with HIV in the UK are unaware they have it.

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