HIV diagnoses in record 18% fall

There has been an 18 per cent drop in the number of people newly diagnosed with HIV – the biggest fall on record.

Figures from Public Health England (PHE) show a dramatic drop, especially in London, and a 21 per cent decline in new cases among gay and bisexual men.

Overall, there were 5,164 new HIV cases in the UK last year, an 18 per cent fall from the 6,286 in 2015.

Among gay and bisexual men, new cases fell from 3,570 in 2015 to 2,810 last year.

In London, this group saw a 29 per cent fall from 1,554 new cases in 2015 to 1,096 last year.

PHE said this was mostly due to regular and frequent testing, and quick diagnosis and treatment.

Dr Valerie Delpech, its head of HIV surveillance, said: “This is very good news. It is the first time since the beginning of the HIV epidemic in the 1980s that we have observed a decline in new HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men, and is clear evidence that HIV prevention efforts are working in the United Kingdom.

She attributed it to a rise in testing and the use of condoms.