HIV on the Rise Among Gay Men in Australia

By Jay Jordan

New diagnoses of HIV have risen 8% in Australia in the last year, according to an annual government surveillance report. The rise in new reported infections came exclusively from gay men—HIV cases among heterosexuals did not increase. In total 1,137 Australians were diagnosed with the virus in 2011, an increase of 50% over ten years.

The survey reports that 72 percent of people diagnosed in the past five years were men who had sex with men. Heterosexual contact accounted for 16 percent of new cases and injection drug use just 2 percent of new cases.

Not surprisingly, the increase in new HIV cases among gay men in Australia comes with an increase in barebacking over the past decade. The report found that approximately 35% of Australian men who had sex with a casual partner reported having anal sex without a condom in the past six months.

There are currently approximately 35,000 people living with HIV in Australia.