Victoria’s Health Minister the Hon. David Davis joins Dean Beck to discuss the latest HIV infection data for 2013.
Last week Victoria’s Department of Health revealed that 303 people were diagnosed HIV positive in 2013. This represents a 16% increase on the 2012 figures. Such high figures have not been seen since the early 1990′s.
Approximately 90% of people living with HIV in the State of Victoria are men who have sex with men however 20% of all new infections in 2013 are outside of this all-male demographic.
In recent years approximately 20 women per year were newly infected with HIV however in 2013 the number of women diagnosed HIV positive totalled 32.
Perhaps the most alarming statistic is the 300% increase of gay men who inject drugs, contracting HIV in 2013.
As rapid testing becomes more readily available and more people get tested for HIV more often, the annual new infection data is certain to rise in coming years. With around 2500-3000 Victorians currently living with HIV undiagnosed, increased testing rates will help such people discover their positive status.
With the 20th International AIDS Conference, AIDS 2014 only three weeks away, this latest increase of new infections will hopefully galvanise the broader Australian community which has become disengaged with the issue of HIV.
The man at the centre of forming the community response to Victoria’s 16% increase in new HIV diagnoses is Simon Ruth, CEO of the Victorian AIDS Council. He joins us in the studio to analyse the latest data and to talk us through some of the influencing factors behind these stats.