Scotland: Glasgow is New HIV Capital After Cases Double
January 29, 2003
For the first time since testing began, Glasgow has overtaken Edinburgh as the HIV capital of Scotland. Over the past year, cases in Glasgow have doubled from 41 to 82, due partly to an influx of asylum seekers who were infected before settling in the city. Many of those infected are women, a large number of whom were raped and otherwise persecuted or tortured in African countries where HIV is endemic. However, the number of HIV cases would have increased even without refugees, because heterosexual cases nearly trebled to 45. No Glasgow cases last year arose from needle or syringe use.Adapted from:
Nationwide, HIV cases have increased from 171 to 250, up 79 in the past year. The increase is due to the rise of unprotected sex among gay men and heterosexuals, as many young people think the virus is no longer an issue due to advances in treatment that let HIV/AIDS patients live longer.
Almost 10,000 refugees have settled in the city in recent years. The Greater Glasgow National Health Service Board stresses that no stigma be attached to asylum seekers or their children. The increase comes at a bad time for the government, which is facing a public backlash regarding immigration. In addition, Glasgow has a history of racist attacks on asylum seekers. Syed Ahmed, a public health consultant who is Glasgow's HIV/AIDS coordinator, said of asylum seekers, "They are not at risk of spreading infection because they are more likely to practice safe sex because they know their diagnosis."
01.22.03; Iain Wilson