New HIV cases in Australia at 20-year high

July 17, 2014

The number of new HIV cases in Australia remains at the highest level in 20 years, according to data Thursday which reveals many people are not being detected early enough.

The Annual HIV Surveillance report from the University of New South Wales' Kirby Institute found 1,235 new cases of the were diagnosed in 2013. There were 1,253 new infections in 2012.

"These are the highest levels we've had in 20 years," the institute's associate professor David Wilson said.

While the rates for the past two years have been stable, the 2013 figure represents a 70 percent rise since 1999, when diagnoses were at their lowest.

Wilson said the evidence suggested that the rise in cases was not due to more testing, but more likely a rise in , particularly among .

The report estimated the number of people living with HIV in Australia at 26,800, but said that about one in seven of these do not know they carry the virus which causes AIDS.

Wilson said people were being diagnosed too late in the process, with about 30 percent detected well after they should have begun to restore their damaged immune system.

"In some cases, people are living for several years without knowing they are HIV-positive," he said.

"This is a double concern: for their own health and that they could be passing the virus on to others.

"If people wait a long time before getting diagnosed, or if they do not start treatment once diagnosed, it is not as easy to recover."

The good news was that people with HIV were living longer, and the treatment rates for patients in Australia were among the world's best.

In Australia, about 60 percent of people living with HIV were on treatment in 2013 which suppressed the virus and reduced the risk of transmission.

"This is higher than almost anywhere else in the world and a great achievement," said Wilson. "In comparison, around 25 percent of people with HIV in the United States are on suppressive therapy."

The release of the data comes ahead of the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne next week.

Explore further: Concern as HIV cases rise 8% in Australia

Related Stories

Concern as HIV cases rise 8% in Australia

October 17, 2012
Research on Wednesday showed HIV infections in Australia jumped eight percent last year and 50 percent in the past decade, which health activists said was a "call to action".

Mideast sees 'worrying' rise in HIV cases

June 20, 2014
A sharp rise in new HIV infections in the Middle East and North Africa is a worrying trend, despite some positive developments, UNAIDS chief Michel Sidibe told AFP on Friday.

Australia: Biggest jump in HIV in 20 years

October 21, 2013
The number of newly diagnosed cases of HIV infection in Australia continues to rise, having increased by ten per cent in 2012 to reach 1253, the largest number in 20 years, according to the latest national surveillance reports. ...

Good news for HIV treatment as prevention

March 7, 2014
The Kirby Institute at UNSW Australia welcomes early results from the PARTNER study, which has found that HIV positive gay men who are on treatment and have undetectable viral load are not transmitting HIV to their partners.

HIV scare after Australian health worker diagnosed with virus

July 15, 2014
Australian authorities were Tuesday urging 399 people in eastern Victoria state to have an HIV test after a health care worker was diagnosed with the virus that causes AIDS.

AIDS could be wiped out by 2030: UN

July 16, 2014
Global AIDS-related deaths and new HIV infections have fallen by over a third in a decade, raising hopes of beating the killer disease by 2030, the United Nations said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Researchers find latent HIV reservoirs inherently resistant to elimination by CD8+ T-cells

January 22, 2018
The latest "kick-and-kill" research to eliminate the HIV virus uncovered a potential obstacle in finding a cure. A recent study by researchers at the George Washington University (GW) found that latent HIV reservoirs show ...

HIV-1 genetic diversity is higher in vaginal tract than in blood during early infection

January 18, 2018
A first-of-its-kind study has found that the genetic diversity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is higher in the vaginal tract than in the blood stream during early infection. This finding, published in PLOS ...

War in Ukraine has escalated HIV spread in the country: study

January 15, 2018
Conflict in Ukraine has increased the risk of HIV outbreaks throughout the country as displaced HIV-infected people move from war-affected regions to areas with higher risk of transmission, according to analysis by scientists.

Researchers offer new model for uncovering true HIV mortality rates in Zambia

January 12, 2018
A new study that seeks to better ascertain HIV mortality rates in Zambia could provide a model for improved national and regional surveillance approaches, and ultimately, more effective HIV treatment strategies.

New drug capsule may allow weekly HIV treatment

January 9, 2018
Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital have developed a capsule that can deliver a week's worth of HIV drugs in a single dose. This advance could make it much easier for patients to adhere to the strict schedule ...

New long-acting, less-toxic HIV drug suppresses virus in humanized mice

January 8, 2018
A team of Yale researchers tested a new chemical compound that suppresses HIV, protects immune cells, and remains effective for weeks with a single dose. In animal experiments, the compound proved to be a promising new candidate ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.