How common is HIV in the UK?


The most recent estimate suggests there were 89,400 people living with HIV in England in 2016. Of these, around 10,400 are undiagnosed so do not know they are HIV positive.

London continues to have the highest HIV prevalence in the country: of those in England living with HIV, 40% live in London. The borough where the highest proportion of residents have been diagnosed with HIV is Lambeth – this is 1.7% of the borough’s population.

Anyone can get HIV but people from some groups or parts of the world are more likely to be affected. In particular, men who have sex with men and black African people are disproportionately affected.

Of the 5,164 people diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2016, 54% were gay or bisexual men.

Of the 2,110 heterosexual people diagnosed with HIV in 2016, 39% were black African men and women.

The overall mortality rate for people aged 15-59 who were diagnosed early was, for the first time, equal to that of the general population for the same age group.

Diagnoses in 2016

  • New diagnoses have been declining since their peak in 2005.
  • In 2016 there was an 18% drop in new diagnoses compared to 2015.
  • Of those diagnosed with HIV in 2016, 42% were diagnosed late. Of those diagnosed with HIV, 60% of heterosexual men were diagnosed late; only 32% of gay and bisexual men were diagnosed late.
  • As a result of combination prevention among gay and bisexual men, 2016 saw a fall of 21% in HIV diagnoses in that demographic – especially in London, where new diagnoses decreased by 29% from 1,554 in 2015 to 1,096 in 2016.

Other key data

  • In 2016 in London, the UNAIDS 90-90-90 target was achieved for the first time. England came close to meeting that target, with 88% of those living with HIV being diagnosed, 96% of those on HIV treatment and 97% of them having an undetectable viral load.
  • Only 2% of people living with HIV in the UK had contracted HIV via injecting drug use.
  • More than a third of people receiving specialist care are now aged 50 or over (38%), compared to less than one in five in 2007.

More statistics are available in these reports: