The number of young gay men diagnosed with HIV annually has more than doubled in a decade, according to figures released by the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

Last year 281 young men were diagnosed with HIV in the UK, compared to 128 in 1998.

1 in 20 gay men in the UK are now living with disease. In London that number is now as high as 1 in 10.

The National AIDS Trust said it wants sex and relationships education in schools to deal with same sex relationships.

Deborah Jack, chief executive of the NAT, said HIV and the stigma surrounding it can be fought if sex education in schools is improved.

“Current sex education completely fails young gay men and we are seeing the results in increasing numbers being diagnosed with HIV,” she said.

“Teachers are given no guidance on how to talk about same sex relationships in the classroom and government sponsored TV campaigns fail to even acknowledge gay relationships.

“Gay men are entitled to the same level of sex and relationships education as their heterosexual peers.

“We know that the habits learnt at a young age stay with people, so it is important young men get the right information early on and are encouraged to practise safer sex.”

The HPA has urged all gay men to take an annual HIV test, as well as every time they believe themselves to be at risk of infection.

Gay men remain most at risk from HIV, and 48% of those diagnosed with the disease in the past year were gay men. The majority of new diagnoses have been among older men.

HIV is tricky to diagnose by symptoms alone. When their immune system is sufficiently depleted, HIV positive people become more vulnerable to infections.

The only way to be certain of your HIV status is to have a test.

Stigma surrounding HIV is also on the rise.

In a report published by the National Aids Trust (NAT) in January of this year, almost half of those questioned felt an HIV positive person who had been infected by having unprotected sex only had themselves to blame.

Over two-thirds questioned said anyone infected by sharing needles only had themselves to blame for their infection.

70% of people agreed that an HIV+ person deserves the same respect and support as a cancer patient.

At Pride London 2008, organisers began a fundraising effort for a free weekend HIV clinic.

£50,000 is needed for the project and supporters can still contribute by texting “HI CLINIC” to 84424 or by visiting the website.

NAT said their biggest concern was the number of HIV+ who go undiagnosed.

To find you nearest sexual health clinic go to: www.condomessentialwear.co.uk/get-help