HIV Statistics How common is HIV?



Latest figures from 2016 show the number of diagnosed cases are coming down slightly although the figures are still high. In 2016, 3,938 men and 1,226 women were diagnosed with HIV, which was less than the year before (4,759 and 1,527 respectively). The number of undiagnosed cases is not known.

Number of new HIV diagnoses (by gender) in the UK:

Number of new AIDS diagnoses (by gender) in the UK:


HIV and men who have sex with men

Homosexual, bisexual men and men who have sex with men for money have always been a high-risk group for HIV, but latest figures from 2016 show a decline in new diagnoses for the first time since the epidemic began 30 years ago. This reduction is credited to more testing and better awareness. However, more work needs to be done.

Number of homosexual men diagnosed with HIV in the UK:


HIV and heterosexuals

The number of heterosexual men and women who have been diagnosed with HIV has declined sharply in 2016 with 898 men in 2016 and 828 women. However, heterosexuals are most likely to be diagnosed late and this can be fatal.

Number of heterosexuals (by gender) diagnosed in the UK:

Injecting drug users

HIV and injecting drug users

Drug users who inject can contract HIV through sharing needles and injecting equipment. However, syringe exchange programmes and the prescription of a less addictive heroin substitute which is taken orally, mean the number of new cases is relatively low with 78 men and 29 women in 2016. However, new cases tend to be diagnosed late and more work needs to be done.

Number of injecting drug users (by gender) diagnosed in the UK:

Mother to infant

HIV passing from mother to child

HIV can be passed from mother to baby during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. The number of cases is reducing with 41 in 2016. However, with the right treatment and care, this should not happen at all.

Number of new cases of HIV passing from mother to child:


HIV in blood or blood products

It is a legal requirement that blood, tissue or blood products donated for medical reasons are tested for diseases including HIV, so it is extremely rare to become contaminated this way. However, 2016 figures show that 16 men and 9 women did.

Number of new cases (by gender) of HIV contracted from blood or blood products:

Mother to infant

Other ways to contract HIV

Tattoos and body piercing, accidental needle pricks, oral sex and sustaining an injury playing sports that isn't treated immediately, are all rare but possible ways of contracting HIV. In 2016, 11 people developed the disease in an unusual way.

Number of new cases of HIV diagnosed in other ways:

Last updated June 7, 2018