10% rise in people living with HIV
The number of people with HIV in Northern Ireland has increased by a tenth in the last two years, the Public Health Agency has said.
The annual HIV in Northern Ireland report highlighted a rise in new diagnoses, up by 3%, from 80 in 2010 to 82 in 2011. There are 522 people living with the infection, up 10% on 2010.
Of the 82 new HIV diagnoses, 48 of these occurred in men who have sex with men, the report said.
Gay men are most at risk of acquiring HIV within the UK, while most heterosexual cases are acquired abroad.
Dr Jillian Johnston, specialist registrar at the Public Health Agency, said the report was being released in advance of World Aids Day on Saturday to raise awareness about HIV.
"The safer sex message applies to everyone, regardless of whether you are straight or gay," he said.
"We know people may be infected with HIV without knowing, so it is important to protect yourself and to stop the spread of infection to others.
"Use condoms, limit the number of your sexual partners, and get checked at your local Genito Urinary Medicine clinic or your GP surgery if you could be at risk."