The number of heterosexuals with HIV in Australia is growing - experts
According to the latest statistics published today by the Kirby Institute (University of New South Wales, Australia), the number of diagnoses of "HIV infection" among Australian heterosexual men over the past five years has increased by 10%. The study showed that more than half of the established cases of the virus were late, that is, at the time of diagnosis, the patient lived with HIV for four or more years.
The results of the work will be announced at the Australian conference on HIV / AIDS in Sydney this week. A full report on the study will be available in November.
As the professor of the Kirby Institute, Dr. Rebecca Guy, stated, heterosexual men are the fastest growing group of HIV-positive people in Australia.
And this despite the fact that the total number of new HIV cases in the country decreased last year to a seven-year low, falling below 1000 (963).
This decline is mainly due to a 15% drop in the number of HIV diagnoses among gay men and bisexuals, traditionally account for almost two-thirds of people living with HIV in Australia.
The authorities point to the increasing rates of testing and treatment, as well as the increase in the number of people using pre-exposure prevention of HIV infection (DCP, PrEP).
Nevertheless, states Professor Gai, the general picture of HIV epidemiology is far from uniquely positive.
"There was not a significant reduction in the number [of diagnoses among - ed.] Of people born abroad ... There was also an increase in the number of [HIV-positive, - ed.] Heterosexuals. This underscores the importance of additional, tailor-made strategies to ensure progress from the response to the spread of HIV infection in Australia, "states the expert.
Executive Director of the Living Positive Victoria Support Group Richard Keane stressed the need for maximum diagnostic coverage. According to him, early testing is of decisive importance here, since the initiation of ARVT treatment saves a person from the consequences of the destruction of immunity, improves the quality of his life, and also reduces the likelihood of further spread of the virus.
Another point, which, of course, needs to be addressed is the discrimination of HIV-positive and stigma associated with it.
"We need to give up old ideas that HIV is a gay disease [...] Many people among heterosexuals do not think that they are at risk, but if we are going to really fight HIV, we need to remind people that everyone is exposed risk of infection. I urge you to go to the doctor and take the HIV test. "
We add that the Australian government is one of the few in the world that has set itself the goal of eliminating the transmission of HIV.
As SBS News notes, soon the authorities will publish a new national strategy, adjusted for the data received by the Kirby Institute.