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20 Nov 2006- One in ten gay men in London is now infected with HIV, with one in 25 across the UK carrying the virus.

New figures, released this week, are expected to show that almost 8,000 people were diagnosed with HIV. last year, increasing the number of people living with the virus to around 70,000 in the UK.

The annual report of the Health Protection Agency, the government-funded health watchdog that will release the official figures this week, is expected to highlight the rise in infection not only among gay and bisexual men but also among heterosexuals.

Doctors warn that, with the virus no longer seen as a killer, many young people are not practising safe sex.

One government source said there was increasing concern that people who grew up after the AIDS scares of the late 1980s no longer saw the virus as life-threatening.

But around a third of people with HIV are unaware that they are carrying the virus, and there is fresh concern that some people are now carrying a cocktail of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhoea.

The Terrence Higgins Trust, the charity that has launched campaigns to raise awareness of HIV, warns that some HIV-positive people were afraid to seek treatment for other sexually transmitted diseases, as they feared that they would be accused of practising unsafe sex.

"Despite all the campaigns, HIV is still something that people think they will not get," said a spokeswoman for the charity.

"One of the problems is that if you have got one sexually transmitted disease it makes you more susceptible to others and more infectious. Someone could start off with gonorrhoea, then they contract HIV and that will amplify the transmissibility for the disease and also make them more infectious."