Half of people living with HIV are over 50

Half of people living with diagnosed HIV are now aged 50 or over, according to the latest figures from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

This reflects the ‘success of HIV treatment in enabling people with HIV to live long, healthy lives’, the agency states.  

HIV Infection graph

There were 3,805 HIV diagnoses in England in 2022, a rise of more than 20 per cent compared to the previous year. This is ‘likely due to lower testing rates during the COVID-19 pandemic’, says UKHSA. While 36 per cent of the diagnoses were among people previously diagnosed abroad, of the 2,444 diagnoses first made in England just 1.7 per cent were of people first exposed by injecting drug use. 

Lower testing rates as a result of COVID were also likely to be a key reason for the rise in the number of late diagnoses, UKHSA states, which were up from 812 to 865. Among those diagnosed late, the highest death rates were among people exposed by injecting drug use (125 deaths per 1,000) and people aged 65 and over (91 deaths per 1,000). Treatment coverage was consistently high across all exposure groups, with the lowest treatment coverage among those exposed by injecting drug use – although this was still 97 per cent. 

Professor Kevin Fenton
Professor Kevin Fenton

‘The latest data shows the positive results of our ongoing efforts to end new HIV transmissions within England by 2030,’ said chief advisor on HIV to the government, Professor Kevin Fenton. ‘Through our HIV prevention programme and the fantastic work of our local authority and NHS colleagues, we are making positive progress to boost testing uptake and improve timely access to effective treatment.

However, we’re not yet seeing progress across the board and there remain some concerning trends around low testing and PrEP uptake in certain groups, particularly in women and those from ethnic minority backgrounds. Our priorities for HIV control remain the same and must now be accelerated to respond to the emerging trends; scaling up HIV testing, expanding access to HIV PrEP, linking and maintaining patients in high quality HIV care, and tackling HIV stigma.’

HIV testing, PrEP, new HIV diagnoses and care outcomes for people accessing HIV services: 2022 report at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hiv-annual-data-tables/hiv-testing-prep-new-hiv-diagnoses-and-care-outcomes-for-people-accessing-hiv-services-2023-report

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