UK HIV new cases at record high

The UK Public Health Laboratory Service released new figures on the number of new HIV infections diagnosed during 2002. The report showed that the trend for more new cases of HIV to be diagnosed in heterosexual people than gay men has been maintained. This has been the case since 1999.

Since recording began in 1982, the cumulative total of HIV infections to the end of 2002 now stands at 54,261. Thirty-five percent (19,166) of the total have been diagnosed with an AIDS-defining condition, of which 12,544 (65%) have died.

2001- the highest new HIV diagnoses ever

The total number of HIV cases diagnosed during 2001 has now reached 4,909; the highest number ever recorded. Fifty-six percent (2,749) of the diagnoses were made in heterosexual men and women. This too is the highest proportion of reports infected via this route ever recorded. The total of new heterosexual infections reported in 2000 is now 1,974 (40% lower than reports now received for 2001).

In 2001 sex between men accounted for 34% (1,662) of reports of new diagnoses.

2002- first figures released today

So far for 2002, the total number of new cases of HIV diagnosed in the UK is 4,202 but this figure is expected to rise significantly once delayed reports have been received. To put this figure in perspective, the total figure for 2001 at this point last year stood at 3,342. Heterosexual sex accounts for 52% of new HIV infections diagnosed so far in 2002, whilst diagnoses attributed to sex between men account for 28% (1,195 reports).

The proportion of those infected through injection drug use has declined year-on-year since 1995. In 2001 there were 123 (2.5%) reports of HIV infection through injection drug use. Sixty-four new diagnoses were reported among injection drug users in 2002; this represents 1.5% of the total infections reported.

Mother-to-infant transmission accounted for less than 2% (57) of reports of new diagnoses in 2002.

London and the South East remain the epicenter of the UK’s HIV epidemic, with 69% of all new diagnoses occurring in these regions. Overall the proportion of all new HIV diagnoses that are made in London has declined from 61% in 1992 to 53% in 2002, whilst in the same time period the proportion of all new HIV diagnoses made in the South East has risen from 8% to 12% and in the Eastern region the proportion has increased from 3% to 9%.

The North West region has the third largest number of HIV diagnoses in the UK, accounting for 6% of all new diagnoses in 2002.

The number of reports in England has risen by 54% from 2,544 in 1992 to 3,937 in 2002. Similarly, there has been a 53% rise in Scotland (from 132 diagnoses in 1992 to 202 in 2002).


CDR Weekly. AIDS and HIV infection in the United Kingdom: a monthly report. 6 January 2003.



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