Early government media campaigns were successful in raising public awareness about HIV. The measures initially taken by UK governments in the 1980s, including condom and safer sex education, needle exchanges and harm reduction programmes - alongside strong efforts by the UK’s gay communities - made sure that we have far lower prevalence rates of HIV than some of our European neighbours.
France, Spain and Italy all have individually almost twice the number of people living with HIV than the UK.
For people living with HIV in the UK, the development (and availability on the National Health Service) of more effective anti-HIV drugs in the mid-1990s meant that they could stay healthier for longer. These treatment developments have continued and now people diagnosed early enough, and taking medication as recommended, can expect to live a near-normal life span.
However, over the course of the 1990s public and political complacency over the risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in the UK crept in. Partly because of this, the number of new cases of HIV being diagnosed began to rise.
Today, men who have sex with men continue to be most at risk from HIV, in addition to black African heterosexual men and women.
In 2015, there were 101,200 people estimated to be living with HIV in the UK.
By the end of 2015, there had been a total of 28,995 diagnoses of AIDS in the UK, and more than 22,930 people diagnosed with HIV had died.