New data from UNSW Sydney’s Kirby Institute show that the number of HIV diagnoses in Australia has halved over the past decade, but has remained stable over the past year, with 555 diagnoses in 2022.
“The 2022 data show Australia is on track to eliminate HIV,” said Dr Skye McGregor, head of the Surveillance Innovation Research Group at the Kirby Institute.
“We are seeing the impact of prevention strategies such as increased HIV testing, preventive treatment, and pre-exposure prophylaxis, especially among gay and bisexual men. Their new diagnoses have declined significantly since 2014. Masu.”
The data were presented on the eve of the 12th IAS HIV Scientific Conference hosted by the International AIDS Society in Brisbane. and virtually. They show that the majority (57 percent) of new HIV infections continue to be diagnosed among homosexual and bisexual men. However, the number of diagnoses in this group has halved over the past decade. In 2022, heterosexual diagnoses accounted for 30% of all diagnoses.
“These data show that in order to eradicate HIV, all people, including heterosexual men and women, will need to travel more, especially as we all start to travel more as COVID-19 measures are eased. It suggests a need for increased focus on prevention strategies targeting says Dr McGregor.
Between 2021 and 2022, there was a modest increase in the number of diagnoses among heterosexuals, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and some states and territories, but researchers should be cautious in interpreting these increases. says there is.
“Australia is truly in a great position to respond to HIV. We have had HIV diagnoses below 1,000 in recent years, but numbers this low indicate small year-on-year fluctuations, especially in subgroups. ,” says Dr. McGregor.
“Another very important factor influencing these numbers is testing. is most likely related to the decline in testing, and the increase over the past year likely reflects the resumption of in-person care and routine testing.”
By 2022, 44 percent of HIV diagnoses will be classified as late stage. This means that the diagnosed person may have been living with HIV for more than four years and experiencing HIV-related illness without knowing her HIV status.
“The number of people diagnosed late is alarming and a timely reminder that all sexually active people should undergo regular sexual health screenings, including HIV testing. It should work,” says Dr. McGregor.
“In order to continue the world-leading HIV response, we need to increase equitable access to testing, treatment and prevention in all areas of need,” she said.
Federal Minister of Health and Aged Care Mark Butler said the data show that the goal of eliminating HIV infection is achievable, but that the status quo cannot be complacent.
“I welcome the release of this data and thank the Kirby Institute for its continued contribution to the fight against HIV.
“The Australian Government will continue to work closely with community groups, health departments and research centers like the Kirby Institute to maintain Australia’s position as a world leader in HIV elimination,” he said. To tell.
Australia leads the world in HIV decline among gay and bisexual men
Australia has achieved a staggering 57% reduction in new HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men since 2013, demonstrating the success of a comprehensive approach to HIV prevention in this population. is showing.
“The decline in HIV diagnoses over the past decade comes after several years of continued increases among this group,” said Professor Andrew Grurich, who heads the HIV epidemiology and prevention program at the Kirby Institute. there is
“They demonstrated the success of community-led health promotion strategies and scientific discoveries such as treatment as prevention. “The discovery that a positive partner cannot transmit the virus to a negative partner. Starting in 2016, the rollout of PrEP, a pre-exposure prophylaxis drug that prevents HIV transmission, has led to a further rapid decline in HIV diagnoses.”
The decline in this group continues in 2022, despite lower diagnostic outcomes in 2020 and 2021 that may be related to reduced testing under social restrictions due to COVID-19. no
“These continued reductions are the result of the partnership response to HIV in Australia, with continued coordination of the key contributions of communities, clinicians, government and researchers. , and today’s numbers are a testament to our overall success,” says Professor Gruhlich.
HIV diagnosis among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV diagnoses has increased over the past year, reaching 25 diagnoses in 2022. Robert He Monahan, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research Manager at the Kirby Institute, says there are no HIV-infected people, although the numbers are low compared to the general population. There are concerns about this population growth.
“We know Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face additional barriers to access to prevention and care. Normal health activities were also likely to be affected by the disease pandemic.There is a need for co-designed campaigns focused on testing, treatment and PrEP, developed in partnership with local community organizations,” he said. says.