Gay men most at risk of HIV: report
June 18, 2009 – 2:59PM
Sydney Morning Herald
Men who have sex with men are the most likely to contract HIV but a growing proportion of straight Australians are being infected with the disease when overseas, a study has found.
Between 2003 and 2007, 64 per cent of HIV cases were the result of male-to-male sexual contact, data released on Thursday by the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations shows.
By comparison, 21 per cent of HIV infections were attributed to heterosexual intercourse, while four per cent of cases involved gay men who also used intravenous drugs.
During the same period, 60 per cent of HIV cases among heterosexual people were the result of sexual contact with partners in high-prevalence countries in South East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
“Over the last few years, Western Australia and Queensland have detected concerning trends among Australians travelling and working in South East Asia and Papua New Guinea and becoming infected there – chiefly through unprotected sex between heterosexuals,” federation president Graham Brown said.
Dr Brown said cases of HIV in NSW had stabilised during the past decade, because the state government had continued to invest in safe-sex education.
But the story was different in Victoria, where diagnosed HIV infections rose by 130 per cent during the same period, and in Queensland, where a 50 per cent increase was recorded.
Australia is home to about 16,000 HIV positive people, the National Association of People Living with AIDS/HIV says.
© 2009 AAP