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Home Topics Infectious Diseases Infections A-Z HIV and STIs HIV/STIs Prevention groups

HIV/STIs Prevention groups


HIV and STIs are not uniformly distributed in the UK population.  There are population groups at particular risk of acquiring HIV and STIs.  Here we summarise surveillance data and appropriate sexual health messages for populations that require targeted prevention.

  Prevention groups in detail
Young adults

Young Adults

Young adults are disproportionately affected by sexual ill-health, accounting for more than half of all STIs diagnosed at GUM clinics. Targeted interventions in this age group may result in long-term beneficial behaviour change.
Young Adults page

MSM image, courtesy shutterstock

Men who have sex with men (MSM)

Cumulatively, the majority of infections reported to the Centre For Infections have occurred through sex between men.This group remains at greatest risk of acquiring HIV infection within the UK. There has been no evidence in recent years of a decline in the numbers of new infections in this group.
MSM page


People Who Inject Drugs (PWIDs)

People who inject drugs (PWIDs) are vulnerable to HIV through the sharing of injecting equipment such as needles and syringes, as well as through sexual transmission. The level of HIV infection among PWIDs in England and Wales is higher now than at the start of the decade, with around one in 100 PWIDs currently infected with HIV.
Injecting Drug Use page

ethic groups image

Black African and black Caribbean

The UK’s black and ethnic minority populations continue to be disproportionately affected by poor sexual health. The groups affected and their experiences of HIV and STIs vary greatly, reflecting the diversity present in the migratory patterns, socio-economic circumstances, and experiences of disadvantage and discrimination in these populations
Black African and black Caribbean page

Pregnant women – woman in white

Pregnant women

Pregnant women are an important group to target for HIV prevention as early diagnosis and appropriate management reduces mother-to-child transmission and improves the prognosis for the mother. Data from this group can also be used to contribute to understanding HIV in the general population in the UK.Pregnant women page

Taking blood samples


Healthcare workers are at increased risk of acquiring bloodborne viruses through exposures to blood and other body fluids in the occupational setting. The Health Protection Agency collects data on occupational exposures to HIV, hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and hepatitis C (HCV) positive patients, and all reports where healthcare workers have initiated HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).
Occupational page