Men who have sex with men

More than half of people newly diagnosed with HIV in 2014 were men who have sex with men, despite this group only making up an estimated 2-3% of the male population.

Men who have sex with men (MSM) is a term used to describe gay men, bisexual men and other men who have sex with men. It is estimated that 1 in 20 MSM in the UK has HIV, increasing to 1 in 11 in London (1 in 28 outside of London).

How many men who have sex with men in the UK are living with HIV?

In 2014, an estimated 45,000 MSM with men were living with HIV in the UK, of whom 6,500 (14%) were unaware of their infection.

How many men who have sex with men who live in the UK are newly diagnosed with HIV each year?

In 2014, 3,360 men who have sex with men were newly diagnosed with HIV, which is the highest number of new HIV diagnoses ever reported among this population. Overall, men who have sex with men accounted for over half of new diagnoses (54%).

How has this been changing over time?

Significant numbers of men who have sex with men are being diagnosed with HIV each year in the UK. In the last decade the number newly diagnosed has increased from 2,423 in 2004 to 3,360 in 2014.

Increased number of diagnoses amongst this group reflects both on-going high levels of HIV transmission and an increase in HIV Testing. There is no indication that HIV incidence among MSM is decreasing.

What about different ethnicities?

The majority of men who have sex with men who are living with diagnosed HIV are of white ethnicity (86%).

MSM_accessing_care_ethnicity_CHART

MSM_accessing_care_ethnicity_STATS

 

What about men who have sex with men of different ages?

The majority of MSM newly diagnosed in 2014 were aged 25-34. The median age at diagnosis is 33 and remains stable. The proportion of MSM aged over 55 accessing HIV care has risen from 9% in 2005 to 17% in 2014.

Chart on the age breakdown of gay and bisexual men diagnosed with HIV

Stats on the age breakdown of gay and bisexual men diagnosed with HIV

How does the number of men who have sex with men living with a diagnosed HIV infection vary between nations in the UK?

The vast majority of men who have sex with men receiving HIV care in the UK were living in England (91%).

MSM_accessing_care_nation_CHART

MSM_accessing_care_nation_STATS

How does the number of men who have sex with men living with a diagnosed HIV infection in England vary between regions?

Half of all men who have sex with men accessing HIV care in England did so in London.
MSM_accessing_care_local_region_CHARTMSM_accessing_care_local_region_STATS

How many men who have sex with men have HIV but don’t know it?

Less than one fifth (14%) of men who have sex with men living with HIV are unaware of their infection. This is less than overall rates of undiagnosed HIV. 

 MSM_diagnosed_and_undiagnosed

For more information please see PHE's website