The number of people infected with HIV in the UK is likely to increase by almost half over the first five years of the 21st century, according to public health experts.
New figures released by the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) predict that the number of people living with an HIV diagnosis may rise from around 23,000 in 2000 to almost 34,000 by the year 2005. In 2001, the number of HIV cases reached a new high, according to the PHLS figures.
According to the PHLS, gay and bisexual men remain the biggest risk group, but this is the third year running that the number of heterosexual diagnoses has exceeded the number of homosexual diagnoses. Many of the new heterosexual infections are acquired abroad in countries of high HIV prevalence and brought to the UK by people who come to live and work here.
These new figures give us the clearest indication yet that, without a boost in HIV prevention investments and a reinvigorated national HIV prevention programme, our past successes will be undermined.