Yet 24% (26,100) people are unaware that they have the virus.
New data today released by Public Health England shows that the number of people living with HIV in the UK has again increased and a quarter of those living with HIV are undiagnosed (they are not aware that they are HIV positive). Despite over 1 million HIV tests being performed at STI clinics in 2013 (which is an increase of 5% from 2012), the population of people living with undiagnosed HIV remains high. This has clear consequences for onward HIV transmission and those diagnosed late are ten times more likely to die within the first year of their diagnosis than those diagnosed early.
Emma Colyer, founder and director of Body & Soul, said “In the eighteen years since Body & Soul was established, there have been transformational improvements in the treatment of HIV and in the opportunities for people living with HIV to have long, healthy and active lives. Today’s report however shows that there is still much more to be done to engage the public with HIV education, promote testing and champion the rights of people living with HIV.
“Too many people have recently experienced discrimination; too many people are grappling with the multiple challenges of poverty, HIV and health comorbidities and too many people are unaware of their diagnosis. This compromises both their ability to prevent onward transmission and to take active steps to manage their HIV early.”
The report highlighted the correlation between HIV prevalence and deprivation in England, especially within London where there is a a higher HIV prevalence per 1,000 in the most deprived boroughs (7.4 per 1000) than in the least deprived (2.4 per 1000). In addition to the challenges of deprivation faced by many people living with HIV in the UK, the report presented the findings from the 2014 national Positive Voices survey that found a high prevalence of mental and physical health comorbidities experienced by people living with HIV, despite 76% of respondents rating their health as “good” or “very good”.
In addition, 11% of people reported that they had experienced discrimination at work, by healthcare staff or having changed accommodation as a result if being diagnosed with HIV in the past year and nearly 4 in 10 had had their HIV status disclosed without their consent.
About Body & Soul
Established in 1996, Body & Soul supports over 4000 children, young people and families living with and closely affected by HIV in the UK. In 2013, Body & Soul launched Brave, an innovative social enterprise that works closely with staff in the health and social care sectors to educate them around the rights of people living with HIV, compassionate care and emotional intelligence in the workplace.
For more information, contact Polly Balsom, Communications Manager, Body & Soul – 0207 923 6880