New figures from Public Health England (PHE) show that gay men are bucking the downward trend for new HIV infections.

Yesterday PHE released its 2013 HIV statistics, showing new HIV diagnoses amongst gay men have slightly increased, whilst new diagnoses overall are declining.

Shockingly the new statistics show that, in the past ten year new diagnoses amongst gay and bisexual men aged 15-24 have almost doubled, as well as new diagnoses amongst the over 50s have almost doubled. This worry for the over 50 was mentioned by Doctor Christian Jessen in his interview with TheGayUK in 2012.

The latest PHE figures come after a recent campaign by a coalition of LGBT organisations which called on political leaders to improve sex and relationships education in schools. These figures highlight the urgent need to make LGBT-inclusive Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) statutory in all schools.

Yusef Azad, director of policy and campaigns at (NAT) National AIDS Trust, said: ‘The Public Health England statistics for 2013 show a continuing high rate of new MSM HIV diagnoses in the UK – about nine gay and bisexual men are being told they have HIV every day. This reflects undiminished and significant levels of HIV transmission in our society amongst gay men.’

LESS GAY MEN DIAGNOSED LATE
However more positively, less gay men are being diagnosed late (within four years of infection). Yusef Azad, director of policy and campaigns at (NAT) National AIDS Trust, said: ‘There continues to be an encouraging decline in the proportion of gay men diagnosed with HIV late – from 43% in 2004 to 31% in 2013. Being diagnosed late, which usually means you have had HIV for at least four years, can have a serious impact on your health, potentially leading to a shorter life expectancy, worse health outcomes and in some cases death soon after diagnosis.’

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ONE IN TWENTY
According to the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) around 100,000 people in the UK were living with HIV in 2013, which means 1 in 665. In gay and bisexual men THT estimates this figure jumps to one in twenty. It could even be as high as one in twelve in highly populated cities such as London.

Dates for the National HIV Testing Week were announced last month. The week will run from the 22nd to the 30th of November.

If you’re worried about sexual health visit our online sexual health microsite for some easy tips and to ask our experts questions on sexual health.