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New UK figures reveal how many men who have sex with men are HIV positive

By Will Stroude

New figures published by Public Health England

 show that the number of new HIV diagnoses in the UK is still on the rise – and disproportionately amongst men who have sex with men (MSM).

Of the estimated 103,700 people living with HIV in the UK in 2014, around 45,00 were men who had acquired their infection through sex with other men, up from 43,000 in 2013.

Roberta McShane conducts an HIV/AIDS test, May 8, 2008, in the back room at the New Era Barber and Beauty in Arlington, Texas. (Amy Peterson/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)

Of the 6,151 of new HIV diagnoses in the UK last year, 3,360 were among MSMs.

1 in 20 (5%) of MSMs aged 15-44 are believed to be living with HIV, with an estimated 6,500 unaware that they are carrying the virus.

The figures were higher in London, where one in 11 MSMs were living with HIV compared to one in 28 in the rest of England and Wales.

Deborah Gold, chief executive of the National AIDS Trust (NAT), said: “Today’s announcement by Public Health England that 103,700 people are now living with HIV in the UK is yet more proof that HIV is a growing issue.

Over 6,000 people were diagnosed last year, as well as 17% of people who have HIV but don’t know it yet. They may not find out until they have already shortened their lifespan and are left with life-long ill health.”

Ms Gold organisation also called on the government to invest more in testing an prevention.

“We need to scale up our HIV testing and prevention efforts, but instead the Government cut £200million off the budget this year used to pay for both”, she continued.

“Next week the Government will announce their spending plans  and we are expecting more cuts to public health. The direct result of this Government action will be more people getting HIV, more people getting diagnosed late and more people dying because of their HIV status.”

The organisation’s Head of Strategy, Yusef Azad, also called on the government and NHS to start providing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drugs “without delay”, calling it an “essential additional prevention option” for those most a risk.

“For as long as the NHS fails to provide PrEP it remains accountable for the unacceptably high number of people getting HIV on its watch”, Mr Azad said in a statement.

Men who have sex with men are advised to have an HIV and STI screen at least annually, and every three months if having unprotected sex with new or casual partners.

For information on where to find your nearest HIV testing centre, visit, or request self-sampling kit online at

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