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Tuesday, 26 July 2011

"AIDS In Jersey"

HIV numbers doubling each year

The number of people diagnosed with HIV in Jersey is doubling each year according to AIDS charity ACET's annual report.

At the moment it is estimated that 68 islanders are living with HIV. But it is also thought that another 16 people are living with the virus unknowingly and thereby putting others at risk.

The figures pose a number of challenges for society and for ACET who have identified their priorities as threefold:

1- Reducing late diagnosis,

2- Increasing public knowledge and understanding, and

3- Improving the psychological welfare of people living with HIV.

The latter is particularly important in a small society where social isolation and prejudice is widespread.

And it is thought early diagnosis could save the public purse as much as £280,000.

But it is not just States coffers that are feeling the pressure in testing economic times. Earlier in the year, ACET's States grant was at risk, and they feared having to shut down entirely.

To prevent that situation in the future the charity is advocating a better inter-agency approach.

Executive Director of ACET, Rosemary Ruddy said: "The current economic crisis reinforces the need to introduce new models of inter-agency working to strengthen the health economy and provide value for money with services that are efficient, economic and, most importantly, effective. A wider role for the voluntary sector in HIV prevention, sexual health and the whole blood-borne virus agenda not only improves efficacy, it makes sound economic sense."

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