According to Public Health England (PHE), an estimated 18,100 people in the UK are unknowingly living with HIV. The announcement came as the agency launched the first nationally available HIV home-testing kit.
In a report released last Wednesday, PHE found that in 2014, 103,700 Britons were living with the condition.
“Overall, the number of people living with HIV in the UK continues to increase and the number living with undiagnosed HIV remains high,” the report said.
According to the latest HIV figures 3,900 men and women from black African communities are also unaware they have HIV.
A free HIV home-testing kit was launched across England in conjunction with the latest released figures. The kit involves a finger-prick blood test that is sent off to be analysed. Three to five days later, people are contacted with results – plus instructions on what next, positive.
Prof Kevin Fenton, at PHE, encouraged all those at higher risk of HIV, “such as men who have sex with men or people from black African communities, to seriously consider testing, especially as they are now able to order a home sampling kit free online”.
The free test will be available to anyone in England until 1 January 2016.