Typical, a 38 percent increase in HIV infection rates in 10 years and another so-called “expert” cautioning against using scare campaigns because he doesn’t feel they will work? Sound familiar? All developed countries have seen similar surges in the last 10 years, and the one theme that runs through all these human disaster stories is “we mustn’t scare people into safe sex and stigmatize those with HIV”… In this case it is “the president of the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine” who, as his title suggests, is obviously on a nice little earner from Big Pharma. You couldn’t make this stuff up it’s so transparent!
And another blithering idiot makes scurrilous BIG Pharma conspiracy claims.
The decrease recorded in total number of infections is only due to enhanced analysis of the surveillance data to reduce duplicate counting and so cannot be regarded as a real decrease of the magnitude that it appears. Gay men account for 76% of new diagnoses in NSW. There are 75% more homosexual and bisexual men in NSW than in Victoria and about twice as many as in Queensland. There are about two-thirds as many HIV-positive men in NSW as in Victoria and Queensland combined. One third of men who tested positive for HIV in social venues via a saliva test were unaware that they have the virus (the Burnet Institute’s 2008 ‘Suck it a See’ study.) There remain a large number of undiagnosed cases, particularly among those ethinc groups with taboos around gay sex and HIV, and MSM’s who do not identify as gay. SYDNEY’S gay community has an infection rate of HIV that is similar to that of countries in Africa, in the inner-city area, 10 to 18 per cent of the gay population is HIV infected. Last year in NSW, 954 people were diagnosed with HIV and nearly three-quarters of them caught the disease through homosexual contact. By comparison only 109 people in NSW were reported to have had the mumps last year.
Bandying terms like ‘rates remain stable’ or ‘prevalence’ does not alter the fact, its still a preventable tragedy. The AIDS Council needs to pull its head out of its bum and do what it was chartered to do, develop HIV/AIDS prevention strategies and campaigns instead of faffing about like an elite social club.