HIV: are 60% of those diagnosed not British nationals?

Published: 6th Apr 2015

"Here's a fact…there are 7,000 diagnoses in this country every year of people that are HIV positive… 60% of them are not British nationals" — Nigel Farage, 2nd April 2015

Both the number and proportion given are inaccurate, and the data available records country of birth, not nationality.

The number of people newly being diagnosed with HIV in Britain was 6,000 in 2013. It hasn't been as high as 7,000 since 2008 and it has been steadily declining since a high point of 7,900 in 2005, according to figures from Public Health England.

The Public Health England data is not able to tell us about the nationality of those diagnosed. It records 'country of birth', which is not the same. Boris Johnson, for example, was born in America, but he is still a British national.

Of the 6,000 people diagnosed in 2013, 2,292 (38%) were born in the UK; 2,688 (45%) were born in the rest of the world; and the birthplaces of 1,020 (17%) were not reported.

Of those whose birthplace was reported, 54% were born outside the UK. That is the nearest that the figures seem to show to the claim, but it masks the uncertainty of the 17% whose birthplace is not reported.

The proportion of those newly diagnosed with HIV who were born outside of the UK has been steadily falling since 2004. So the proportion of people diagnosed with the virus who were born in Britain has actually been increasing over the same period.


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