Health Protection Agency
Publication date: November 2009
The number of people living with HIV in the UK continues to rise, with an estimated 83,000 infected at the end of 2008, of whom over a quarter (27%) were unaware of their infection.
During 2008, there were 7,298 new diagnoses of HIV in the UK. This represents a slight decline on previous years, predominantly due to fewer diagnoses among black African women who acquired their infection abroad.
New diagnoses among men who have sex with men remained high in 2008, and four out of every five probably acquired their infection in the UK.
New HIV diagnoses among those who acquired their infection heterosexually within the UK have risen, from an estimated 740 in 2004 to 1,130 in 2008.
Over half of patients were diagnosed with a CD4 cell count <350 per mm3 within three months of diagnosis in 2008, the threshold at which treatment is recommended to begin.
Preliminary data for the first six months of 2009 indicate that one in five men who have sex with men, and one in ten heterosexuals newly diagnosed with HIV were likely to have acquired their infection within the last six months.
Uptake of HIV testing in antenatal and genitourinary medicine clinics continued to improve in 2008, reaching 95% and 93%, respectively.
Forty-three English Local Authorities (35 Primary Care Trusts) had a prevalence of diagnosed HIV greater than 2 per 1,000 population in 2008, at which threshold it has been recommended to expand HIV testing in the local population.
Preventing the 3,550 HIV infections that were probably acquired in the UK, and subsequently diagnosed in 2008, would have reduced future HIV-related costs by more than £1.1 billion.
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Last reviewed: 27 November 2009