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Record Drop in HIV Cases in New South Wales

Record Drop in HIV Cases

The Australian state saw the largest drop in HIV cases among gay and bisexual MSM since records began in 1985. 

New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, has seen a huge drop in HIV diagnoses in the last year among men who have sex with men — the lowest since records began in 1985. 

As AIDS Map reports, New South Wales also saw a huge spike in HIV testing, which likely impacted the number of cases seeing as it coincided with the EPIC-New South Wales demonstration study of PrEP. 

Like other nations across the world, New South Wales is strategizing ways for their people to eliminate HIV by 2020 — as part of the “90, 90, 90” goal set by the United Nations, which sees to have 90 percent of people know their status, 90 percent of HIV-positive on meds, and 90 percent of HIV-positive people to reach undetectable levels. 

Part of New South Wales’s strategy towards this goal has included education campaigns on the effectiveness of HIV testing and treatment. As a result, 83 percent of participants in opinion surveys said that “HIV treatments significantly reduce the risk of passing on HIV” in September 2016 — in February 2013, it was only 33 percent. 

There was also an increase of people agreeing that “Everyone has changed, we can now dramatically reduce HIV transmission,” from 48 percent in February 2013 to 86 percent in September 2016. Additionally, 94 percent of people in September 2016 agreed that “condoms continue to be the most effective way of preventing HIV transmission.” 

Overall, 95 percent of HIV-positive living in New South Wales are on treatment, with 59 percent of them getting immediate treatment upon learning of their diagnoses (within a span of six weeks), and 94 percent of poz people are undetectable. 

Unfortunately, the upward progress hasn’t been as hospitable for the straight community. 

According to AIDS Map, the HIV transmission rates among straight people living in New South Wales remained stagnant between 2011 and mid-2016, and began to increase within the last year — 46 percent relative to the average number in the previous five years. 

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