New figures from Public Health England (PHE) for 2013 reveal that new HIV diagnoses have gone down – except among gay men.

In the past ten years, new diagnoses amongst men who have sex with men (MSM) aged 15-24 have almost doubled, with 3,250 MSM being diagnosed with HIV, slightly up from 3,230 in 2012 (and the highest number ever). Overall, over 80,000 people are receiving HIV care. However, the proportion of people diagnosed late went down to 31 per cent, from 34 per cent in 2012, and 43 per cent – or more than one in four people – ten years ago.

The latest figures come after a recent campaign by a coalition of LGBT organisations that 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 among gay men.’

He added: ‘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.’