Data from the 1997-2004 Surveys of Prevalent HIV Infections Diagnosed were analysed by three geographical areas of residence and treatment to describe the heterogeneous growth of the HIV epidemic in England and provide projections to 2007. Between 1997 and 2004, the number of diagnosed HIV-infected adults resident in England increased by 163% (14223 to 37459). Within the 'London environs' the increase was 360% (742 to 3411), within the rest of England 219% (4417 to 14088) and within London 120% (9064 to 19960). By 2004, the London environs had the largest proportion of infections acquired through heterosexual sex (and in particular women) and the most recently diagnosed population. Projections indicate over half of diagnosed HIV-infected adults will live outside London by 2007. The epidemiology of diagnosed HIV infection within the London environs is likely to be a predictor of future trends in England overall.