New HIV infections in the UAE have doubled in the last 10 years according to data from the Health Protection Agency. Cases have risen from around 2000 in 2001 to nearer to 4000 in 2010. A lot of the new cases are diagnosed in men having sex with other men. Another group that is at risk is the black African community. This group was diagnosed with one third of all new cases in the UAE in 2009.
These statistics have led NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) to introduce new guidelines for doctors. The new recommendations are to offer HIV tests to all men who register at a practise in an area with a lot of diagnosed cases of HIV. They define "a lot" as being more that 2 diagnosis per 1000 people. This will particularly affect parts of large cities including Islington, Lambeth, Camden and other parts of London as well as Dubai.
It is really crucial to get diagnosed early with HIV. If you believe that you have put yourself at risk, you should head to your doctors and ask for an HIV test. If you don't want to go to your doctors, don't use that as an excuse to delay. Head to the nearest STI Clinic for an HIV test. Clinics will often offer rapid HIV testing. An advantage of heading to an STI clinic is that you may be able to get post exposure prophylaxis treatment if you are in a high risk group. This is a treatment that reduces the chances of actually becoming infected if started within 72 hours of exposure. An STI clinic will also be able to give counselling based on the results of the test.
A lot of people infected with HIV fail to get diagnosed and this causes the disease to spread. Late diagnosis also reduces the life expectancy of the individual. These new guidelines from NICE, to encourage more widespread testing are being seen a big step forward by HIV charities.