QLD RECORDS A SHARP INCREASE IN NEW HIV NOTIFICATIONS AND TESTING


New HIV notifications in Queensland rose by approximately 25% in 2014 from the previous four-year average according to the University of New South Wales’ Kirby Institute at the World STI and HIV Summit held today at the Brisbane Convention Centre.

The summit heard that Queensland recorded 246 new HIV notifications in 2014, a sharp increase from the previous year that had seen a moderate decrease.

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The increase in new notifications, however, was not completely unexpected due to the increased emphasis on testing and greater access of rapid 20 minute HIV tests from Queensland’s HIV prevention bodies. Brisbane’s high HIV caseload medical clinics also reported a 36% increase in HIV testing for the year 2014.

HIV Foundation Queensland Chair Dr Darren Russell says the figures suggest that the testing campaigns are working.

“Since June 2013, Queensland has invested in the largest HIV awareness campaign the State has seen. The campaign has consistently targeted those most at risk of HIV, encouraging them to get tested and know their HIV status”, Dr Russell said.

“Queensland could be seeing in 2014 what other states saw when initiatives to increase testing were implemented in previous years. NSW saw an increase of 27% on the previous 4 year average in 2012 but has subsequently seen rates reducing”.

“We are already two thirds of the way through 2015 and new diagnoses this year have been consistently lower than 2014, down an average of 30% year to date” Dr Russell said.

Data from the Kirby Institute indicates that between 2011 and 2014 the total number of HIV tests conducted in Queensland sexual health clinics in gay and bisexual men increased from 1,423 to 2,288.

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