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.
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.
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.
Drug users who inject can contract HIV through sharing needles and injecting equipment. However, syringe exchange programmes and methadone maintenance (a 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.
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.
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.
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.
Last updated April 24, 2018