A new survey report shows a steady decline in reported cases of HIV in the gay and bisexual population of Australia with a 30% drop in five years. But this downward trend was not observed in the heterosexual population. On the contrary, there was an increase.
Australia’s gay and bisexual men have witnessed a sharp descend in reported HIV transmissions, the lowest in 18 years. There were 835 new HIV transmissions last year – a 23 per cent decline since 2014. The drop was attributed to the rise of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and determined prevention, testing and treatment efforts. PrEP is a testified treatment that allows people to regulate their HIV status.
Heterosexuals HIV seems to be on a rise with roughly 200 new infections every year. Less heterosexuals come in for testing, as a result many stay untested and undiagnosed for years before their HIV status is revealed. An estimated one in three heterosexual people had been tested for HIV in their lifetime.
Australian Federation of AIDS Organizations CEO, Darryl O’Donnell said tackling rising HIV rates among heterosexuals needed more organized public health campaigns and awareness initiatives.
Despite the “profound and sustained progress against the HIV epidemic”, there was still a long way to go according to Mr O’Donnell said.
The country has been largely successful evading HIV among gays and bisexuals due to new treatments. The pharmaceutical industry is a humongous contributor in this crusade. Pills to prevent the infection in HIV negative people are available too.
Another interesting find of the study was that Australian born gays and bisexuals have shown a downward trend but that does not extend to gays and bisexuals from other countries living in Australia. That according to the report needs consideration.
The survey report was compiled by the Kirby Institute, one of Australia’s four national HIV research centers.