Background/introduction As in many other western countries, men who have sex with men (MSM) are most affected by HIV in the UK.
Aim(s)/objectives To describe 15-year trends in HIV among MSM to inform prevention strategies.
Methods National HIV surveillance data were linked to national register deaths and HIV testing data from sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinics. Multivariable analyses revealed predictors of late diagnosis (<350 copies/mL) and mortality.
Results Between 1999–2013, 37,560 MSM (aged ≥15) were diagnosed with HIV; diagnoses increased from 1,440 (1999) to 3,250 (2013). The majority of men were white (85%) and UK-born (68%). Probable UK-acquisition was high (81%) including among those born abroad (66%). Median CD4 count rose, 350 cells/mm3 to 463 cells/mm3. Despite a decline in late diagnosis (50% to 31%), >800 men have been diagnosed late annually since 2004. HIV testing in STI clinics in England increased, 10,900 to 102,600. One-year death rates among new diagnoses declined (4.6% to 0.9%) due to fewer deaths among late presenters (4.4% to 1.8%). Older age (>50) and living outside London were predictors of late presentation, while older age and late presentation were predictors of one-year mortality.
Discussion/conclusion In its third decade, the HIV epidemic among UK MSM has continued to diversify. Increases in new diagnoses reflect both increased testing and ongoing transmission. Despite improvements in patient outcomes, >800 men present late each year; death rates remain high and preventable. Culturally appropriate prevention and testing strategies require strengthening to reduce HIV transmission and late diagnosis.
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