The latest report from Public Health England shows that the number of people accessing HIV treatment in England is growing.  While there has been over 6,000 new diagnoses in England in 2015, the growing numbers accessing treatment show that the infection is no longer the threat to life it once was.

Here are the key statistics from the report:

  • There were 6,095 new diagnoses of HIV in 2015
  • Around 3 out of 4 were men
  • Just over half of new cases were in MSM
  • Only 2% of new infections were with people who are injecting drug users (mainly in Glasgow)
  • There were 130 cases of mothers transmitting the infection to their children, although is thought that in the vast majority of these cases the transfer happened outside the UK
  • 40% of new infections were diagnosed “late”, more than half of these in heterosexuals
  • There is regional variation in late diagnoses: the Midlands and East of England had half of their new infection as late, with MSM in London being the least likely to be diagnosed late

Being diagnosed early is key to successful treatment. This is likely to be PHE’s main focus in forthcoming years.  Being diagnosed early means getting better and earlier access to the right medication, and means the virus can do less damage to your body.  It also helps prevents the onward transmission of the virus.  The figures show that MSM are less likely to be diagnosed late than heterosexuals.  This means that regular testing and open communication with partners may be helping to identify new cases of HIV early.

HIV continues to be less talked about in the heterosexual community, where late diagnoses are more of a problem.  This means that treatment may take longer to reach a stable point, and makes contact tracing harder as the lookback period is longer.  It may mean that people no longer have the contact details of people who may be at risk of HIV.

Better2Know can help you to get tested for HIV.  With tests that start from just 10 days after potential exposure, we will have the right test for you to get you the answers to your HIV status quickly and accurately.

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