Red RibbonEarlier this week I sang in a choir for a Christmas concert to raise money for treatment of HIV patients. I thought I'd do some research.

It is often trumpeted that HIV and AIDS affect all kinds of people. That is true. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, it affects more women than men, and 24.5 million people are infected. In some countries, over 20% of adults are living with HIV. Worldwide, nearly 3 million will have died of AIDS in 2006 [1,2]. These are staggering statistics.

In the UK, of all those adults living with HIV (estimated 63,500 by end of 2005), about 44% are men who have sex with men [3]. The rest are not. So it is clearly wrong to think of HIV as something that affects only gay men.

However, after playing around with a few numbers [4,5], the figure above suggests that around 5-10% of practising homosexual men are HIV positive [also 6,7]. That's a staggering statistic too.

Virtually all HIV cases could easily have been avoided. So much suffering and death due either to ignorance or to deliberate lifestyle choice! How tragic!