New HIV diagnoses 'higher in heterosexuals than in gay and bisexual men'

New data from Public Health Scotland also confirmed first time diagnoses had continued to decline.

New HIV diagnoses higher in heterosexual Scots than in gay and bisexual men for first time, data shows iStock

New HIV diagnoses in heterosexual people are higher than in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.

Public Health Scotland released new data that showed 42% of new HIV diagnoses in Scotland were in heterosexual people in 2022.

Meanwhile 29% of diagnoses were found in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM).

Since 2017 there has been a steep 37% decline in HIV diagnoses in GBMSM which has been helped by an uptake in the HIV prevention pill PrEP.

Between July and December 2022, 1,142 individuals accessed HIV PrEP for the first time, an average of 190 per month.

This is the highest number in any six-month period since the implementation of the programme in July 2017.

During 2022, a total of 317 reports of HIV diagnoses were recorded in Scotland.

This includes 108 diagnoses reported for the first time and 209 reported for the first time in Scotland but diagnosed elsewhere.

The proportion of all HIV reports accounted for by first-ever diagnoses decreased from 60% in 2018 to 34% in 2022.

However, the study does note that HIV testing is still recovering from pre Covid-19 levels which may impact the data.

Alan Eagleson, head of the Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland services, hailed the statistics as proof that “Scotland is making progress on ending new cases of HIV by 2030”, though noted that “we won’t get there by accident”.

“The clock to 2030 is ticking and while today’s statistics show some progress, more must be done to ensure that equitable progress is being made, and that no communities are left behind,” he added.

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