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Nigel Farage Said That The Majority Of Those Getting HIV Are Foreigners

The other party leaders didn't take it too well.

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During the leaders' debate, Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP party, condemned health tourism, claiming that 60% of the 7,000 people diagnosed with HIV aren't British.

"There are 7,000 diagnoses in this country every year for people who are HIV positive," he said. "Which is not a good place for any of them to be, I know. But 60% of them are not British nationals. You can come into Britain from anywhere in the world and get diagnosed with HIV and get the retroviral drugs, that cost up to £25,000 a year, per patient.

"I know there are some horrible things happening in many parts of the world, but what we need to is put the National Health Service there for British people and families who in many cases have paid into this system for decades."

He was immediately attacked by the other leaders on stage.

"This kind of scaremongering is dangerous," said Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru. "It divides communities and it creates stigma to people who are ill and I think you should be ashamed of yourself."

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Ed Miliband even took to Twitter after the debate was over to register his disgust.

I want to say, Nigel Farage's comment about the NHS and HIV was disgusting. He should be ashamed. The fact he isn't says so much.

It turns out that Farage's remarks weren't exactly correct.

The latest figures from Public Health England show that it was actually only 6,000 people who were diagnosed with HIV in 2013, of whom 54% were foreign-born. However, country of birth data were only available for 83% of people who were diagnosed.

This figure has actually fallen dramatically recently. As the report says, "New diagnoses have been declining since they peaked in 2005 (at 7,890), largely due to a decrease in the number of diagnoses reported among heterosexuals born in high HIV prevalence countries."

It's safe to safe that viewers were less than impressed with his decision to raise the issue.

Is Farage seriously trying to stigmatise and deny medication to people with HIV? #leadersdebate

I am horrified. Really Farage? HIV the fault of "non-British nationals" ??

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Farage saying he would refuse to treat HIV positive patients because they "aren't British" is just frankly disgusting

Farage's comments on HIV are disgusting. Audience rightly applaud Wood for criticising him for them #leadersdebate

First audience applause, I think for Leanne Wood taking down Farage's shameless attack on HIV+ foreigners

This post was updated after the debate to include Ed Miliband's tweet.

Rossalyn Warren is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rossalyn Warren at rossalyn.warren@buzzfeed.com.

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