Chris: 'After I was diagnosed with HIV, my life really changed. I became a cabinet minister.'
Photo © House of Lords/Roger Harris

How common is HIV in the UK?


The most recent estimate suggests there were 106,890 people living with HIV in the UK in 2019. Of these, around 5,150 are undiagnosed so do not know they are HIV positive.

London continues to have the highest rates of HIV in England: 37% of new diagnoses in 2020 were in London residents. In 2019, 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 4,139 people diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2019, 41% were gay or bisexual men.

Of the 1,559 heterosexual people diagnosed with HIV in 2019, 37% 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 2019

  • New diagnoses have been declining since their peak in 2005.
  • In 2019 there was a 10% drop in new diagnoses from 2018 and a 34% drop compared to 2014.
  • Of those diagnosed with HIV in 2019, 42% were diagnosed late. Of those diagnosed with HIV, 52% of heterosexual men were diagnosed late; 59% of people aged 65 and older; and only 35% of gay and bisexual men were diagnosed late.
  • As a result of combination prevention among gay and bisexual men, 2019 saw a fall of 18% in HIV diagnoses in that demographic in one year and 47% compared to 2014 – especially in London, where new diagnoses decreased by 54% in these five years.
  • Diagnoses in women however only declined by 4% in 2019. Women account for 28% of new diagnoses in 2019.

Other key data

  • In 2020, for the first first time, the UK achieved the UNAIDS 95-95-95 target with 95% of those living with HIV being diagnosed, 99% of those on HIV treatment and 97% of those having an undetectable viral load.
  • Only 3% of people diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2019 had contracted HIV via injecting drug use.
  • Approaching half of people receiving specialist HIV care in 2019 were aged 50 or over (42%), compared to less than one in five in 2007.

More statistics are available in these reports: