News & Media > PHE HIV Data, 4 September: New HIV diagnoses across the UK fall by 17 per cent, comment from BHIVA

PHE HIV Data, 4 September: New HIV diagnoses across the UK fall by 17 per cent, comment from BHIVA

Tuesday 4 September 2018

Data published today by Public Health England (PHE) reveal that new HIV diagnoses in the UK have fallen for the second year in a row. The 17 per cent drop in 2017, from 4,363 new diagnoses reported compared to 5,280 in 2016, brought new cases down to their lowest level since 2000 – see report, full data and slide set at:

BHIVA Chair Chloe Orkin comments: "BHIVA is very pleased to see that the combined impact of regular HIV testing, and the vast majority of those diagnosed being on treatment (98 per cent,) has led to a further fall in new HIV diagnoses. It is impressive to see that the 2017 figure is 17 per cent lower than 2016, and that this fall is across the country and across different demographics. It is particularly evident in gay and bisexual men, where since 2015 a fall of newly diagnosed in London dropped by 41 per cent and by 30 per cent outside of London.

"As a person with sustained, undetectable levels of HIV virus in their blood cannot transmit HIV to their sexual partners, we are now very close to being able to stop the spread of the virus. However, too many people - 42 per cent in 2017 - were diagnosed late with a CD4 count of less than 350cells/mm3, indicating damage already done to their immune system. This is an important predictor of HIV related ill health and mortality and also means that they could have unknowingly put others at risk of infection.

"Data for 2017 show that women, older age groups (over 50) and people of black African ethnicity were more likely to be diagnosed at a late stage compared to men, younger age groups (aged 15-49) and people of white or other ethnicities. Overall 58 per cent of heterosexual men and 50 per cent of heterosexual women were diagnosed at a late stage compared to 32 per cent of gay and bisexual men. We therefore must continue to do all we can to increase testing and raise awareness of HIV to prevent exposure to unnecessary risk of ill health and transmission."

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