New HIV Cases Among MSM Expected to Increase by Almost 75% in Australian State by 2015, Report Finds
March 4, 2008
New HIV cases among men who have sex with men are expected to increase by 73.5% by 2015 in the Australian state Victoria if current trends continue, according to a report released Monday by the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, The Australian reports.
Reduced condom use among MSM and an increase in other sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea and syphilis, are contributing to the increase in HIV cases, according to David Wilson, lead author of the report and head of the infectious diseases modeling unit at NCHECR (The Australian, 3/3). Wilson added that early diagnosis and treatment of all STIs is necessary to reverse the trend (Sydney Morning Herald, 3/3).
Jonathan Anderson, president of the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine, said the Victorian state government plans to launch a new HIV prevention strategy in an attempt to reverse the prediction (The Australian, 3/3). The state government launched a $6.5 million HIV and STI action plan last year. The report was sent to government agencies and health departments nationwide, Wilson said (The Age, 3/3).
About 12,313 Australians were diagnosed with HIV between 1983 and 2006, according to a recent NCHECR survey. The number of new cases decreased by 30% in the 1990s and then increased between 2000 and 2006, the AAP/Times reports (AAP/Brisbane Times, 3/3).
Wilson said the report found that MSM in the country are complacent about the virus. "Our feeling is that HIV is now considered a manageable lifetime chronic disease and not the scary death threat it was many years ago when we didn't have treatment, so a lot of complacency has set in," he said.
Wilson added that the report provides a "good opportunity to intervene" in an effort to reduce the predicted increases. Michael Wooldridge, chief adviser on HIV for the federal government, said the report does not reflect efforts in the last year to prevent HIV, adding that it "shows what the price of failure would be" without prevention and education efforts (The Age, 3/3).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.