After two years of increases, New South Wales has recorded a small drop in new HIV notifications, including a significant reduction in the number of gay men diagnosed.
The state health department said there were 398 new cases of HIV notified in 2004, compared to 414 in the previous year, a drop of four percent. Among gay men, the drop was even larger, falling from 287 to 246, a 14 percent decrease.
Professor Sue Kippax, director of the National Centre in HIV Social Research, said that for the first time since the mid-1990s there were signs of a trend away from unsafe sex among gay men, a sign that health promotion efforts were having a positive effect.
The fall in notifications among gay men was partly offset by a rise in new diagnoses in women, especially those from non-English-speaking backgrounds.
“As with many other developed nations, such as the UK, Australia has been seeing an increase in HIV among people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in recent years,” said health department spokesman Dr Jeremy McAnulty. “Reducing further infections among this target group is a key priority for the forthcoming NSW HIV and AIDS Strategy to be coordinated by NSW Health, community organisations and health services.”
Describing the increases of previous years as “incredibly alarming,” ACON president Adrian Loveny said: “One HIV infection is still one too many — we need to work harder to reduce these figures further still. But this result is a real demonstration of the effectiveness(Of a drug or treatment). The maximum ability of a drug or treatment to produce a result regardless of dosage. A drug passes efficacy trials if it is effective at the dose tested and against the illness for which it is prescribed. In the standard procedure, Phase II clinical trials gauge efficacy, and Phase III trials confirm it. of the HIV partnership in NSW.”