HIV has not gone away: increases in HIV cases in 2011
With a slight increase in new HIV diagnoses in the last year, the AIDS Council of SA's Richard Cannon says it's time for everybody to have a sexual health check.
Despite a gradual decline in HIV notifications in South Australia since 1986, 2011 saw a significant spike in HIV diagnoses, with 68 cases of HIV reported to the Communicable Diseases Control Branch. This represents a 41.6% increase from the 48 cases of HIV reported in 2010.
The epidemic in South Australia continues to evolve, with gradual increases over the last six years in HIV notifications from culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Notifications amongst those identifying as Asian increased from 2 diagnoses in 2007 to 9 in 2011. Similarly, the proportion of new diagnoses among individuals identifying as African increased from 8 (14%) in 2007 to 18 (27%) in 2011. In fact, notifications amongst individuals identifying as ‘African’ comprised over a quarter (26.4%) of all HIV notifications in 2011. When reading these statistics it is important to keep in mind that the Asian and African populations in South Australia are quite small, so they are demonstrating a marked disparity in HIV diagnoses.
Notifications amongst females increased from 8 cases in 2010 to 14 cases in 2011, and have shown a gradual increase since 2006. Heterosexual male notifications (despite demonstrating a slight decrease from 2010 figures), have also shown a gradual increase in HIV diagnoses since 2006. In 2011, heterosexual notifications accounted for 42% of overall notifications.
Rates of HIV amongst gay men and other MSM demonstrated a sharp increase in diagnoses from 20 cases in 2010 to 35 cases in 2011, despite also demonstrating a gradual decline in notifications since 2006. This group continues to represent a disproportionately high number of HIV diagnoses (accounting for 52.9% of total cases), particularly when you consider the size of the MSM population.
These statistics once again show that HIV does not discriminate and has not gone away. Everyone needs to be vigilant, become informed about HIV and find out their HIV status. Get a sexual health check today.
Richard Cannon is the Senior Research and Policy Officer with the AIDS Council of SA Inc