The Public Health Laboratory Service has revealed that 1999 probably saw the greatest number of new HIV infections in a decade.

Dr Angus Nicoll, head of the service's HIV and STD division, said it had already received 2,457 reports of new diagnoses from 1999, and more were likely to arrive in the next few months. A report issued last week also says 1999 was the first year in which the number of diagnoses of heterosexually transmitted HIV was higher than the number of infections acquired through sex between men, while the steady decline in the number of deaths of people with HIV and AIDS that started with new combination drug therapies in the 1980s has stalled.

AIDS and HIV Infections in the United Kingdom: communicable disease report. www.phls.co.uk