Australia records 8% increase in HIV infection

Professor John de Wit, director of the National Centre in HIV Social Research

Professor John de Wit, director of the National Centre in HIV Social Research. Photo: Courtesy University of New South Wales

HIV infection rates have grown in Australia by 50 per cent over the last 10 years with health researchers believing up to 10,000 people in Australia have undiagnosed HIV leading one peak HIV body saying undiagnosed HIV infection and inadvertent transmission would drop dramatically if rapid HIV test kits were approved for sale there.

According to an annual HIV surveillance report HIV infection rates in Australia grew by 8 per cent in 2011 with 1,137 new HIV diagnoses in 2011, compared with 719 in 1999. At the same time sexually transmitted diss eases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia are also being increasingly detected.

Professor John de Wit, director of the National Centre in HIV Social Research, said a further 30 per cent of HIV cases could be going undiagnosed, despite Australia having one of the highest rates of HIV testing in the world among gay men.

“We see that about 60 per cent of gay men have tested in the past 12 months which means there could be a substantial number of people living with HIV who are not aware,” Mr de Wit said.

According to Mr de Wit, a large percentage of the increase in HIV infection rates in Australia is due to gay men participating in unsafe sex who now no longer see HIV/AIDS as life threatening.

HIV Rapid Tests

The availability of rapid HIV instant test kits could significantly reduce the number of undiagnosed cases in Australia

The availability of rapid HIV instant test kits could significantly reduce the number of undiagnosed cases in Australia

Rob Lake from the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations says new technology allows HIV infection to be detected in minutes, but Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration has to date refused to approve their use.

Mr Lake said “the rise [in HIV infection rates] in 2011 is more than it has been for probably six or seven years and why strategies to encourage testing are so important.

Source: Australia ABC: Report reveals jump in HIV infection rate

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Australia HIV infection rates • Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations  • unprotected sex • rapid HIV instant test kit • instant HIV test kit • HIV instant test • HIV self test •  HIV Home Kit • Australasian Society for HIV Management • Therapeutic Goods Administration
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John Le Fevre

Editor at Photo-journ.com
John Le Fevre is an Australian national with more than 30 years' experience as a journalist, photographer, videographer and copy editor. He has spent extensive periods of time working in Africa and throughout Southeast Asia and previously held senior editorial staff positions with various Southeast Asia English language publications and international news agencies. He has covered major world events including the 1991 pillage riots in Zaire, the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the 1999 East Timor independence unrest, the 2004 Asian tsunami, the 2009 Songkran riots in Bangkok, and the 2010 ant-government Bangkok protests. In 1995 he was a Walkley Award finalist, the highest awards in Australian journalism, for his coverage of the 1995 Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) Ebola outbreak.

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