Public Health England (PHE) recently released their latest figures about HIV, which showed that although cases of HIV have decreased slightly since 2014, people are still being diagnosed late.
The statistics show that 6,095 people were diagnosed with HIV in 2015, which is a slight decrease on the previous year (56 less people in fact). Men who have sex with men made up 54% of the total diagnoses from 2015.
Of the 88,769 people in England living with HIV at the end of 2015, 96% were treated with antiretroviral therapy - and 94% of these were 'virally suppressed' - meaning they were extremely unlikely to pass on HIV to others.
39% of people newly diagnosed with HIV in 2015 were diagnosed at late stage of infection. You can see from the chart below that men who have sex with men were the least likely group to be diagnosed late (30%), and heterosexual men were most likely to be diagnosed late (55%).
The rate of late diagnosis varied quite a bit regionally, and it was highest in the Midlands and East of England, where late diagnosis rate was 50%.
Andrew Horton, HIV Prevention Lead at Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership NHS Trust, said:
"We really want people to know how important it is to get an early diagnosis, as it ensures better health. It has never been easier to get tested for HIV, and we offer a quick fingerprick testing drop in on the last Wednesday and Thursday of every month, which give results in 20 minutes."
Peter Butler one of the Clinical Nurse Specialists at Cobridge Community Health Centre, added:
"There are many benefits of knowing your HIV status, including the ability to make choices around treatment to ensure you can live a long and healthy life. Knowing your status will also help you make choices to prevent transmission and protect partners. Don't forget a comprehensive sexual health screen is available at Cobridge Community Health Centre (including HIV testing and rapid tests) throughout the year!”
Visit www.20mintesting.co.uk for more information on our fingerprick HIV testing drop-in.