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Late Diagnosis

Late diagnosis of HIV can be a real problem for your health.

Here are some of the recent statistics*:

  • Over 100,000 people are living with HIV in the UK.
  • Of these, 24 per cent are undiagnosed and do not know about their HIV infection.
  • In 2013, 530 people living with HIV died, most were diagnosed late
  • There were over 6,000 new HIV diagnoses in 2013.
  • Nearly half (42 per cent) of people diagnosed with HIV in 2013 were diagnosed late, after they should have already started treatment.
  • Over 50 per cent of new HIV diagnoses in 2013 were among men who have sex with men (MSM).
  • Over 1 million HIV tests performed in GUM clinics across the country in 2013
  • The number of MSM diagnosed with HIV infection remained high, with 3,250 men reported in 2013. This reflects both on-going high levels of HIV transmission but also an increase in HIV testing.

*All data is taken from the Public Health England HIV in the UK 2014 report.

Those diagnosed late have a tenfold increase of death within one year compared to those who are diagnosed promptly.

Prompt diagnosis means that HIV positive people can start treatment and thereby reduces the risk of onward transmission through sexual contact to extremely low levels.


Implications of a late diagnosis

Increased risk of death within 1 year of diagnosis

  • Considered late diagnosis if:

            CD4 count is below 350 cells/mm3 within 3 months of diagnosis

  • Considered very late diagnosis if:

            CD4 count is below 200 cells/mm3 within 3 months of diagnosis

In 2013 the percentage of late diagnosis was lowest in gay men and higher in heterosexual men/MSM.

Late diagnosis means a person has been unaware of their status therefore increasing the risk of onward transmission.

Men who have sex with men remain the group most affected by HIV with 31% diagnosed late and 16% unaware of their infection.

Healthy Gay Cornwall recommends that gay/bisexual men and MSM should have an HIV/STI screen every year and at least every three months if having unprotected sex with new or casual partners.