HIV is an infection that attacks the immune system decreasing the ability to fight disease. The World Health Organization estimates that around 35 million people in the world are living with it.
According to the NHS, there were an estimated 107,800 people in the UK living with HIV at the beginning of last year. The majority were infected through unprotected sex – around 43,500 gay/bisexual men and 59,500 heterosexuals apparently.
One of London’s top HIV clinics has been forced to apologise after they accidentally leaked hundreds of HIV-positive patients names and email addresses this week.
The clinic, 56 Dean Street, mistakenly included the data in an online newsletter sent out to 780 people on Tuesday. It was intended to give out details of treatments and support available to patients living with the infection.
The incident was followed by a swift apology from bosses and a promise to investigate how the data protection breach occurred.
Elliot Herman, a 38-year-old man living in London, told The Guardian that the clinic’s slip-up meant that he found out that people he knew had HIV.
“It’s not difficult to put those names into Facebook and bring up their profiles and personal details,” he argued. “If my details were on that list I would feel angry and disappointed at the clinic for having such a shit system that this can happen.”
Are you affected by any of the issues raised in this article? If so, click here to find your local NHS HIV support service.