With over 3,000 new infections, 2010 saw the highest-ever number of men who have sex with men (MSM) to be diagnosed with HIV in one year in the UK.

This startling fact was revealed by the UK’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) on Tuesday, ahead of World AIDS Day, in its annual ‘HIV in the UK’ report.

The report found that 6,660 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in 2010. It said that the increase in infections was “mostly due to infections acquired among MSM, who remain the group most at risk of HIV infection in the UK”.

It added that one in 20 gay men are now infected with HIV nationally, with one in 11 infected in London.

The agency also announced that the total number of people living with HIV in the UK reached an estimated 91,500 in 2010, with a quarter of those unaware of their infection.

“HIV is an infection which can nowadays be treated and those diagnosed promptly can expect to experience similar life expectancy as an individual without the infection,” said Dr Valerie Delpech, consultant epidemiologist and head of HIV surveillance at the HPA.

“However, we are very concerned that a large number of people in the UK are unaware of their HIV status and are diagnosed late,” she added.

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