HIV/AIDS in the United Kingdom

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HIV & AIDS Diagnoses and Deaths by Year in the UK

In 2017, the prevalence of HIV in the United Kingdom was estimated at 101,600 (credible interval 99,300 to 106,400) with 92% (credible interval 88 to 94%) diagnosed [1]. Prevalence is highest in gay/bisexual men in London with an estimated 83 (credible interval 73 to 96) per 1000 gay and bisexual men aged 15 to 74 years. HIV prevalence in this group was higher in London compared with the rest of England (134/1,000 CrI 113 to 156 and 63/1,000 CrI 53 to 76, respectively)[2]. However, the 2017 statistics showed a tremendous decrease in the number of newly HIV infected gay men during 2015-17. The number of newly HIV infected gay men decreased by a third in just two years.[3]

Overall demographics[edit]

In 2017, 93,385 people (64,472 men and 28,877 women) living with diagnosed HIV infection received HIV care in the UK.[4]. 42,739 of those are gay or bisexual.

New diagnoses[edit]

6095 people were newly diagnosed during 2015, a trend which has remained relatively constant since 2010.[5] An estimated 39% of diagnoses were late (likely to have been living with the virus for over three years).[6] This has improved since 2006 when 56% of people were diagnosed late. Late diagnosis is associated with a 10-fold increase in the chance of death during the first year after diagnosis.[6][7] Over half of new diagnoses (3,320) were among gay or bisexual men.[5] There has been a decrease in diagnoses amongst heterosexual black African men and women, from 73% in 2006 to 47% in 2015, largely due to trends in migration from high prevalence countries.[5]

Treatment and prognosis[edit]

HIV treatment is available free of charge in the UK and as a result 96% of diagnosed are receiving treatment and of those 94% have a suppressed viral load making them very unlikely to pass on the infection.[8][6][9] In 2015, less than 1% of people living with a diagnosed HIV infection in the UK died (cause of death is uncertain and may not be HIV-related). All-cause mortality for ages 15–59 in people living with HIV was 5.7 per 1000 compared to 1.7 for the UK population as a whole.[6] People newly diagnosed with HIV today can expect to have a normal life expectancy if they are diagnosed on time and on effective treatment.[10]

In 2017, 39% adults seen for HIV care were 50 years of age or older[11].. This is partly due to improvements to life expectancy for people living with HIV as well as increasing numbers of people acquiring HIV later in life.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis[edit]

Pre-exposure prophylaxis ("PrEP") using a drug which can prevent HIV infection, is available to high risk individuals as part of a three-year trial on the NHS, after a legal battle in the High Court.[12][13] Use of PrEP in London, both as part of a trial and from private purchases, was partially credited in a drop in diagnoses among men who have sex with men, after a five-year plateau in diagnoses.[14][15][16]

Sexual health specialist Mags Portman was credited in making PrEP more accessible to gay and bisexual men in the UK. In October 2018, the Terrence Higgins Trust established the Mags Portman PrEP Access Fund to provide PrEP to those in England and Northern Ireland who cannot afford it.[17]


1981, 12 December: A 49-year-old man dies in Brompton hospital due to an AIDS related illness - the first death in the UK.[18][19]

1982, 4 July: Terry Higgins dies of an AIDS related illness - leading to the establishment of the Terrence Higgins Trust.[20][21]

1987, 9 April: Diana, Princess of Wales, opens a new ward at Middlesex Hospital for the treatment of HIV patients, shaking the hands of AIDS patients without gloves.[22][23][24]

1987: The British Government launched "AIDS: Don't Die of Ignorance", a major public information campaign. A leaflet about AIDS was delivered to every household in the UK, which warned that it is impossible to tell who is infected with the virus.[25]

1991, 24 November: Queen star Freddie Mercury dies of AIDS.[26]

1996: Triple combination therapy (HAART) becomes standard treatment, reducing the death rate.[27][28]

2003, March : The National AIDS Trust launched a campaign challenging HIV stigma.[29]

2010, 8 April: The Equality Act 2010 qualifies anyone with HIV as disabled and so gives protection against discrimination.[30][31]

2012: 1 October: HIV treatment becomes free for everyone in England.[32][33]

2012, 23 November: First National HIV Testing Week.[34][35]

2013, April: HIV Prevention England started a two-year campaign funded by the Department of Health communicating messages about HIV testing and condoms to Africans and MSM.

2015, April: First home testing kits become available, after being legalised in April 2014.[36]

2015, 9 September: Results announced of PROUD study, testing the effectiveness of PrEP on reducing HIV infections in 544 participants.[37][38]

2016: Results of PARTNER Study show that a person living with HIV, who is on treatment and whose virus is undetectable cannot pass the virus on to anyone else. The 'U=U' campaign and Terrence Higgins Trust's 'Can't Pass It On'campaigns followed shortly after. The PARTNER Study followed other research and studies, such as the Swiss Statement, which provided similar evidence of HIV not being able to be passed on under these stated circumstances.[39]

2017, 3 August: NHS announced trial of PrEP for 10,000 people over three years.[40]

2019, 1 January: NHS announced to increase IMPACT trial size to 26,000.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Progress towards ending the HIV epidemic in the United Kingdom 2018 report )" (PDF). Public Health England. 2018. Retrieved 2019-06-25.
  2. ^ "Progress towards ending the HIV epidemic in the United Kingdom 2018 report )" (PDF). Public Health England. 2018. Retrieved 2019-06-25.
  3. ^ "HIV diagnoses in gay men in the UK decreased by a third in two years". Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  4. ^ "Progress towards ending the HIV epidemic in the United Kingdom 2018 report )" (PDF). Public Health England. 2018. Retrieved 2019-06-25.
  5. ^ a b c "HIV diagnoses, late diagnoses and numbers accessing treatment and care" (PDF). October 2016. Retrieved 2017-08-27.
  6. ^ a b c d "HIV in the UK" (PDF). UK Government. Public Health England. 2016-12-01. Retrieved 2017-08-27.
  7. ^ "HIV: surveillance, data and management". Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  8. ^ Trust, Terrence Higgins. "Effective HIV treatment means 'zero' risk of transmitting virus | Terrence Higgins Trust". Retrieved 2017-08-27.
  9. ^ Trust, Terrence Higgins. "Can't Pass It On | Terrence Higgins Trust". Retrieved 2017-08-27.
  10. ^ Roxby, Philippa (2017-05-11). "HIV life expectancy 'near normal' thanks to new drugs". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-08-26.
  11. ^ "Progress towards ending the HIV epidemic in the United Kingdom 2018 report )" (PDF). Public Health England. 2018. Retrieved 2019-06-25.
  12. ^ Gallagher, James (2017-08-03). "Prep: HIV 'game-changer' to reach NHS in England from September". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-08-26.
  13. ^ "HIV campaigners win NHS drug battle". BBC News. 2016-08-02. Retrieved 2017-08-26.
  14. ^ "Meet The Man Who Stopped Thousands Of People Becoming HIV-Positive". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2017-08-26.
  15. ^ "'Remarkable' drop in new HIV cases among men". BBC News. 2017-06-22. Retrieved 2017-08-26.
  16. ^ editor, Sarah Boseley Health (2017-06-22). "Fall in HIV among gay men could spell end for Britain's epidemic, say experts". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-08-27.
  17. ^ Ledward, James (30 October 2018). "THT launch 'Access Fund' for PrEP". Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  18. ^ Bois, R. M. Du; Branthwaite, M. A.; Mikhail, J. R.; Batten, J. C. (1981-12-12). "PRIMARY PNEUMOCYSTIS CARINII AND CYTOMEGALOVIRUS INFECTIONS". The Lancet. Originally published as Volume 2, Issue 8259. 318 (8259): 1339. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(81)91353-2. PMID 6118728.
  19. ^ "The Timeline: Aids". The Independent. 2011-06-03. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  20. ^ "How It All Began". Terrance Higgins Trust. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  21. ^ Prior, Neil (2012-07-05). "Terrence Higgins' legacy, 30 years after death". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  22. ^ "How Princess Diana changed attitudes to Aids". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  23. ^ "BBC NEWS | Health | Timeline: 25 years of HIV/Aids". Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  24. ^ "Prince Harry invokes image of Princess Diana holding hand of dying Aids patient as he warns of HIV complacency threat". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  25. ^ Hildrew, Peter. "From the archive, 9 January 1987: TV and cinema Aids campaign launches". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  26. ^ "Queen star dies after Aids statement | 1990-1999 | Guardian Century". Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  27. ^ Trust, Terrence Higgins. "Terrence Higgins Trust in the 1990s | Terrence Higgins Trust". Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  28. ^ "HIV treatment has come a long way – but there's still work to do". The Guardian. 2017-07-12. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  29. ^ "Are you HIV prejudiced?". Retrieved 2014-05-06.
  30. ^ Trust, Terrence Higgins. "Equality Act 2010 | Terrence Higgins Trust". Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  31. ^ "Equality Act 2010". Expert Participation. Retrieved 2017-08-29.CS1 maint: others (link)
  32. ^ "HIV treatment for overseas visitors in England from 1 October 2012". Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  33. ^ "Free HIV treatment on NHS for foreign nationals". BBC News. 2012-02-28. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  34. ^ "Ready to Be Tested? England's First National HIV Testing Week Starts Today". Huff Post. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  35. ^ Tom Hayes (2012-11-23). "National HIV Testing Week". Beyondpositive. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  36. ^ Mundasad, Smitha (2015-04-27). "HIV home test kit goes on sale in UK". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  37. ^ McCormack, Sheena; Dunn, David T.; Desai, Monica; Dolling, David I.; Gafos, Mitzy; Gilson, Richard; Sullivan, Ann K.; Clarke, Amanda; Reeves, Iain (2016-01-02). "Pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent the acquisition of HIV-1 infection (PROUD): effectiveness results from the pilot phase of a pragmatic open-label randomised trial". The Lancet. 387 (10013): 53–60. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00056-2. ISSN 0140-6736. PMC 4700047. PMID 26364263.
  38. ^ "PROUD PrEP study results published". Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  39. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-07-17. Retrieved 2018-07-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  40. ^ "NHS England » NHS England announces world's largest single PrEP implementation trial to prevent HIV infection". Retrieved 2017-08-29.