The number of gay and bisexual men contracting HIV rose over the past 20 years because of an increase in numbers having unprotected sex, researchers have found.
The number of UK men who have sex with men and having intercourse without a condom rose by 26% between 1990 and 2010, the study by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and University College London showed.
The HPA said one in 20 men who have sex with men in the UK now had HIV, with the figure rising to nearly one in 12 in London.
It follows a similar study that warned "unsafe sexual behaviour" and a lack of testing was behind a failure to cut the number of cases of HIV among gay and bisexual men in the last decade in England and Wales.
Sir Nick Partridge, chief executive of the Terence Higgins Trust said that advances in treatment had made HIV less visible in the gay community which had falsely encouraged some to believe it was less prevalent.
"One of the consequences of the advances in HIV treatment is that HIV is less visible than it was 25 years ago. To many gay men, it seems less prevalent than it was. The result is risks being taken and getting the risks wrong," he said. "HIV is spread at the most intimate and passionate time and sometimes condoms are forgotten."
He denied that gay men had become complacent. "We know from our own research that the vast majority of gay men know that HIV is the most serious threat to their health and most gay men use condoms most of the time. If gay men had stopped using condoms, there would have been 80,000 more cases. This shows the importance of condom use. We need to increase condom usage and we need more regular testing."
By Conal Urquhart
Full Story - The Guardian