NSW is on track to achieve the virtual elimination of HIV transmission by 2020, with new HIV diagnoses in NSW at their lowest in more than four years while testing is at an all- time high.
Today, on World AIDS Day, Health Minister Jillian Skinner said: “It’s encouraging to see the four measures of success in the fight against HIV - prevention, testing, new diagnoses and treatment - are all heading in the right direction.”
- 70 new HIV diagnoses in NSW, the lowest number of new diagnoses for a single quarter in more than four years (a 22% decrease compared with the average for the same period in the previous six years)
- A 27% increase in sexual health clinic testing compared with the same period in 2015, as well as a 34% testing increase among men who have sex with men
- 92% of people with diagnosed HIV attending sexual health services are on treatment
A combination of increased testing to detect infections earlier, high treatment coverage, high uptake of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and targeted innovative community education programs is likely to have led to the reduction.
“Around 9,800 people in NSW live with HIV but around seven per cent are unaware they are infected. We must - and will - change this,” Mrs Skinner said.
To make testing for HIV easier, the NSW Government today launched the new Dried Blood Spot (DBS) HIV Testing Service. It allows people at risk of HIV to order a test online and take a sample where and when they choose without the need to visit a clinic. The sample is sent back by mail and people receive their results via phone, text message or email. The DBS HIV test is a free, convenient and private option for people to test for HIV.
HIV prevention options were expanded this year with the launch of the EPIC-NSW study of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in March. PrEP involves people without HIV taking treatment drugs daily to prevent them getting HIV. More than 4000 people at high risk of HIV infection at 21 NSW clinics are already involved, exceeding the original study target.