Rates of heterosexuals diagnosed with HIV are increasing
The total number of heterosexual people diagnosed with HIV in 2017 is still much lower than the number of gay and bisexual men. In fact there has been a significant decline in new diagnoses for gay and bisexual men – but not for heterosexuals.
Sixty-seven people were diagnosed with HIV in 2017 following heterosexual exposure. This is 29 per cent higher than the average number of heterosexual notifications for the previous six years. The increase occurred mainly in Australian born people – particularly men – who likely acquired HIV overseas.
In NSW as in the rest of Australia, people born overseas and heterosexual men and women are still being diagnosed late.
Many people still do not realise that heterosexual transmissions in Australia continue to make up about 1 in 5 diagnoses (21% in 2016). In 2016 almost half of heterosexual people diagnosed with HIV were diagnosed late. There is also a steady increase in Aboriginal diagnoses – many of these being heterosexual transmissions.
Pozhet is working with other organisations to try to find ways to reduce the number of heterosexual people being diagnosed with HIV, particularly those diagnosed late.