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 UK-wide estimate is that 106,890 people are living with HIV in the UK in 2019. The more recent estimate for England (not the whole UK) is that there were 95,900 people living with HIV in England in 2021. Of these, around 4,400 are undiagnosed and do not know they are HIV positive.

2,692 people were diagnosed with HIV in England in 2021, 218 in Scotland and 60 in Wales.

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. People who inject drugs are also at increased risk of HIV transmission.

Of the 2,023 people diagnosed with HIV in England in 2021, 36% were gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men. Of the 798 heterosexual people diagnosed with HIV in England in 2021, 37% were of Black African ethnicity.

London continues to have the highest rates of HIV in England: 32% of new diagnoses in 2021 were in London residents. In 2021, 28% of people seen for HIV care in England were living in London.

As of 2021, there is a total of 6,415 people recorded as being diagnosed and living with HIV in Scotland. In addition, an estimated 500 people in Scotland are living with undiagnosed HIV.

Diagnoses in 2021


New diagnoses have been declining since their peak in 2005. However, in 2021 in the UK, there was only a very small drop (0.2%) in new diagnoses. This is a 33% drop compared to 2019.

In England in 2021, the number of new diagnoses increased by 3% in gay and bisexual men and by 9% in women exposed by heterosexual contact.

Of those diagnosed with HIV in England in 2021, 44% were diagnosed late. Some groups are more likely to be diagnosed late. 63% of heterosexual men were diagnosed late in 2021 in England, 56% of people of Black African ethnicity were diagnosed late and 50% of women were diagnosed late.

Of those first diagnosed with HIV in Scotland in 2021, 52% were among gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men, 25% were heterosexually acquired and around 6% were linked to people who inject drugs. In Scotland, 16% of first ever diagnoses in 2021 were at a late stage.

Other key data

  • In 2021, England was reported to achieve UNAIDS 95-95-95 target, with 95% of those living with HIV being diagnosed, 99% of those on HIV treatment and 98% of those having an undetectable viral load. However, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) that collects this data has recognised that these figures do not reflect the true number of people who are living with HIV but currently accessing care. Their upper estimate of the number ‘lost to care’ in England is 22,670 people.
  • The Scottish Government has committed to reaching UNAIDS 95:95:95 target by 2025. As of 2021, 92% of people living with HIV in Scotland are diagnosed; 97% of people attending specialist services are accessing antiretroviral treatment, and; 94% of people accessing treatment have an undetectable viral load.
  • There are an estimated 4,400 people living with undiagnosed HIV in England.
  • The average age of people living with HIV in the England is getting higher – nearly half of people receiving specialist HIV care in 2021 were over 50, compared to one in five in 2007.
  • Only 3% of people diagnosed with HIV in England in 2021 had contracted HIV via injecting drug use.

More statistics for the UK and England are available on the Government website:

More statistics for Scotland are available on the Scottish Government website:

The Welsh government has committed to developing a new national data collection system in its HIV Action Plan for Wales. This should give more detail on different populations and local areas.