New data from UNAIDS and UKHSA shows progress in HIV testing, diagnoses and treatment for people living with HIV

New data from UNAIDS and UKHSA shows progress in HIV testing, diagnoses and treatment for people living with HIV

Global HIV Data

Every year we monitor and review the global HIV reports to understand the new and continued challenges. Following the pandemic some forecasts suggested the HIV response globally could have been set back by more than 10 years because of disruptions to HIV services. So, it’s more important than ever to create awareness about the importance of testing, knowing your status and the treatment available to become Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U).  

How many people are living with HIV?

The most recent figures from UNAIDS show that 38.4 million people globally were living with HIV in 2021.*

Who is at increased risk of exposure to HIV?

Globally, the risk of acquiring HIV is:

  • 35 times higher among people who inject drugs
  • 30 times higher for female sex workers
  • 28 times higher among gay men and other men who have sex with men
  • 14 times higher for transgender women*

How many people knew their status in 2021?

85% of all people living with HIV knew their HIV status in 2021. This means that about 5.9 million people did not know that they were living with HIV in 2021 which is why it is so important to #KnowYourStatus.*

Are people accessing
antiretroviral treatment for HIV?

In 2021, 75% of all people living with HIV were accessing treatment. At the end of December 2021, 28.7 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy, this is up from 7.8 million in 2010 which is great news in the fight against HIV!*

What percentage of people accessing treatment are virally supressed?

Among people accessing treatment, 92% were virally suppressed.* This means that for a person living with HIV, antiretroviral treatments (ART's) are now so effective, that if they are taken correctly the HIV virus can be supressed to undetectable levels and you can live an active and healthy life and have a normal life expectancy.

This is because the ARTs stop the virus from reproducing and that means your immune system can repair itself and isn’t further damaged. This can only happen if you test and know your status.

The totally amazing part is that not only is your own health protected, but it is proven that you cannot pass the virus on, even through unprotected sex.

Nowadays HIV is no longer a death sentence, or as we like to say, “HIV is 3 letters, not a sentence!

Reduced number of people being diagnosed with of HIV

The number of people newly acquiring HIV has decreased by 54% since the peak in 1996 and since 2010, new HIV infections have declined by 32%, from 2.2 million to 1.5 million in 2021. This demonstrates significant progress in the fight against HIV.

Global 2025 AIDS Targets from UNAIDS

UNAIDS is leading a process for the development of updated HIV targets and estimates of the resources needed for the global AIDS response up to 2030. The 95-95-95 testing and treatment targets for 2025 are:

  • for 95% of all people living with HIV to know their status
  • for 95% of people living with HIV to receive HIV antiretroviral treatment 
  • 95% of those receiving treatment to be virally supressed (undetectable)
  • 95% coverage of services for eliminating vertical transmission (mother to baby)
  • 95% of women having access to HIV, reproductive and sexual health services
  • And 95% of people at risk of acquiring HIV having access to effective combination prevention options***


HIV Testing in the UK

After the fall in the number of people having an HIV test between 2019 and 2020 (31%, 1,319,915 to 913,383), the number of people tested in 2021 showed a partial recovery with a 15% rise to 1,053,169. It’s great to see that HIV testing is increasing again.

However, there were still 266,746 (20%) fewer people tested in 2021 than in 2019 so there’s still more to be done in sharing the message about the importance of testing.**

How many people accessed HIV treatment in England in 2021?

There has continued to be high coverage and effectiveness of HIV treatment and care provision in England. A total of 91,432 people attended HIV care in England in 2021. This is a small rise compared to 2019 (90,504) and 2020 (88,786).**

Among those with known treatment status, 99% received treatment, and 98% of those treated were virally suppressed, consistent with the proportions in 2019 and 2020.**

In 2021, there was a fall of 0.2% in the number of people newly diagnosed with HIV in the UK from 2020. Previously there was a 33% fall in 2020 from 2019. For England, the equivalent figures were a 0.7% rise from 2020 and a 33% fall from 2019.**

The HIV Action Plan set an ambition to reduce HIV transmission by 80% by 2025.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA, formerly Public Health England) will publish a monitoring and evaluation framework (MEF) to assess progress towards this goal. This framework will focus on identifying inequalities between different populations.

So, #TakeControlOfYou and #knowyourstatus 

* Global HIV & AIDS statistics — Fact sheet | UNAIDS
**HIV testing, PrEP, new HIV diagnoses, and care outcomes for people accessing HIV services: 2022 report - GOV.UK (

HIV Self Test Kit - Buy Now

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.