Video: HIV rates have declined, but not for all populations
In 1987 there were 2,412 HIV cases reported. In 2017 this reduced to 963 HIV cases. This is attributed to more testing, treatment and preventative measures
Pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP – a pill taken as a precaution - has reduced the spread of HIV among gay and bi-sexual men. However, heterosexuals who make up 200 of the 1000 HIV cases each year are not heeding the warnings. Between 2016 and 2017 there was approx 15% increase in reported heterosexual HIV cases.
Disturbingly, the UNSW Kirby Institute study found that half of heterosexuals diagnosed get their first test more than 4 years after they have acquired HIV. In this time, they may have unknowingly passed it onto someone else.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have also seen an increase in HIV rates since 2017, partly due to limited access to preventive and diagnostic health care in rural areas.
But the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations believes Australia is capable of eliminating HIV with a drive for greater awareness of HIV in all groups, encouraging HIV testing, and providing easier access to viral suppression therapy.