St James's Hospital in Dublin has reported a record number of newly-diagnosed HIV patients this year.

The hospital said it has seen a 20% increase in cases - the highest number of new cases in a year since records began.

2,000 HIV positive patients now attend the hospital.

The hospital says it expects to have diagnosed over 240 new HIV cases this year, compared with 209 last year.

There has been a 100% increase in HIV diagnoses among homosexual and bisexual men.

Consultant in genito-urinary medicine at St James's Hospital, Dr Fiona Lyons, said there was an urgent need to target this group for prevention, early diagnosis and treatment.

Meanwhile, the Dublin AIDS Alliance has warned that the current economic climate and funding cuts are placing a further burden on HIV/AIDS services.

Today is World AIDS Day and according to the World Health Organisation, over 33m people are living with HIV/AIDS.

SA to treat babies with HIV

Calls for an end to discrimination against sufferers rang out as South Africa, the country worst affected by the pandemic, rolled out a new plan to beat the virus.

Mr Zuma announced a raft of new measures to rein in the disease that has hit 5.7m of South Africa's 48m people.

‘Let today be the dawn of a new era. Let there be no more shame, no more blame, no more discrimination and no more stigma,’ he said in his speech.

The most eye-catching announcement from Mr Zuma was that all babies with HIV would receive anti-retroviral treatment.

‘All children under one year of age will get treatment if they test positive,’ Mr Zuma said.

He also announced expanded treatment for pregnant women, in a bid to prevent the transmission of HIV to their children.