With World Aids day just a couple of days away, figures have been published showing that the number of people diagnosed as HIV positive fell by 14 per cent in the North East last year.
The region has one of the lowest rates of the virus in the country, with 127 new diagnoses of HIV in the past year.
However, almost half of all new cases were diagnosed late or very late - and left untreated, HIV can have serious consequences.
The number of people currently living with the disease in the UK is around 96,000 - with nearly 1400 of those people living in the North East.
"The fall in newly diagnosed HIV cases in the North East is welcome but it is too early to tell if figures are beginning to stabilise, so we must not be complacent about tackling HIV in this region.
Late HIV diagnosis continues to be a significant challenge for the North East. In 2011, almost half of all new cases were diagnosed late or very late. This is of particular concern as we know that health outcomes for people who are diagnosed 'late' or 'very late' are significantly worse than if diagnosed early."
– Dr Kirsty Foster, Consultant in Health Protection for HPA