The latest data published by Public Health England (PHE) reveals that new HIV diagnoses in the UK have fallen for the second year in a row. New diagnoses decreased by 17% in 2017, from 4,363 new diagnoses reported compared to 5,280 in 2016. This brings new cases down to their lowest level since 2000.
This decrease continues a downward trend that started in 2015, with an overall 28% reduction in new HIV diagnoses between 2015 and 2017. The reduction was largely driven by a decline in new HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men, which fell by 17% compared to 2016 and by 31% compared to 2015. This decrease was partly due to the high uptake of HIV testing in this group, particularly repeat HIV testing among higher risk men. Increased uptake of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) also contributed to the decline in new diagnoses.
New HIV diagnoses in black African and Caribbean heterosexuals have been steadily decreasing over the past decade, from 2,655 in 2008 to 594 in 2017. For the first time, a UK-wide fall was also seen in new diagnoses in heterosexuals from other ethnicities, with a drop of 20% to 849 in 2017. Previously, diagnoses had remained stable at around 1,000 per year in this group.
Despite these reductions, the data indicates that challenges remain to the control of HIV in the UK. For example, the proportion of people diagnosed at a late stage of infection has remained around 40% for the past five years. Late diagnosis is associated with a ten-fold increased risk of short-term mortality and an increased risk of onward transmission.
The data can be viewed on the UK Government website.
The current quarterly HIV infection in Scotland surveillance report, which includes data on new reports, to 31 March 2018, can be viewed on our website. The latest data for Scotland, to the end of June 2018, will be published on our website on 18 September 2018.
Source: PHE, 4 September 2018