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How common is HIV in the UK?

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The most recent estimate suggests there were 101,600 people living with HIV in the UK in 2017. Of these, around 7,800 are undiagnosed so do not know they are HIV positive. (Figures for 2018 will be released in November.)

London continues to have the highest rates of HIV in the country: 34% of new diagnoses in 2018 were in London residents and 38% of people seen for HIV care were living in London. 

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 4,484 people diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2018, 43% were gay or bisexual men.

Of the 1,550 heterosexual people diagnosed with HIV in 2018, 41% were black African men and women.

In 2017, 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 2018

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  • New diagnoses have been declining since their peak in 2005.
  • In 2018 there was a 6% drop in new diagnoses from 2017 and a 28% drop compared to 2015. 
  • Of those diagnosed with HIV in 2018, 43% were diagnosed late. Of those diagnosed with HIV, 60% of heterosexual men were diagnosed late; 64% of people aged 65 and older; and only 33% of gay and bisexual men were diagnosed late. 
  • As a result of combination prevention among gay and bisexual men, 2018 saw a fall of 10% in HIV diagnoses in that demographic in one year and 39% compared to 2015 – especially in London, where new diagnoses decreased by 50% in these three years.

Other key data

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  • In 2017 the UK achieved for the first time the UNAIDS 90-90-90 target with 92% of those living with HIV being diagnosed, 98% of those on HIV treatment and 97% of them having an undetectable viral load
  • Only 2% of people diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2018 had contracted HIV via injecting drug use. 
  • More than a third of people receiving specialist HIV care are now aged 50 or over (40%), compared to less than one in five in 2007.

More statistics are available in these reports: