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HPA release new HIV statistics

Friday, March 27, 2009

NAT welcomes decline in HIV diagnoses - but cautions against complacency

The Health Protection Agency announced today that there were an estimated 7,370 new HIV diagnoses in 2008 - a decline from 7,660 diagnoses in 2007.

The number of gay and bisexual men diagnosed remains high (2,830) and, although this fell
slightly from 2007, the number diagnosed in 2008 is the second highest figure ever recorded.

Overall, the number of black Africans diagnosed with HIV has fallen for the fourth consecutive
year. However, the number of heterosexuals diagnosed who were infected within the UK is the
highest ever at 1,090 (this figure has more than doubled since data collection started in 2002) and
more than a third of those diagnosed (400) were black Africans.

Understanding the story behind new diagnosis statistics is always difficult because diagnoses are
often of infections which took place a number of years ago. The majority of people who were
infected with HIV in 2008 will still not have been diagnosed.

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust), said:

‘We welcome the fall in the number of new diagnoses of HIV - but we need to wait to see
whether the trend is really downwards or still plateau-ing.

We are concerned about the continuing rise in the number of heterosexuals being
diagnosed who were infected with HIV in the UK – this underlines the need for improved
support for HIV prevention amongst black African communities and for HIV to be more
visible in wider sexual health messages aimed at the general public.

But most importantly, we must remember that gay and bisexual men are still the people
most affected by HIV here in the UK – with one 1 in 20 gay and bisexual men infected with
HIV. If that proportion of the general UK population had HIV it would be headline news.

At a local level, very few health services are prioritising HIV and we are reaping the
consequences of this complacency.’

NAT
NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV.
We provide fresh thinking, expert advice and practical resources. We campaign for change.
Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.
www.nat.org.uk

Health Protection Agency
All figures quoted in this release were provided by the Health Protection Agency (HPA). For further
information visit www.hpa.org.uk


Notes to the editor:

For further information please contact:
Jane Hillier
020 7814 6759
07947 725 299
jane.hillier@nat.org.uk