Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, believes HIV can be eliminated in New South Wales. The Minister stated that, thanks to new innovations, “the virtual elimination of HIV transmission in NSW, once inconceivable, is now a realistic and achievable goal”.

A plan announced last month by NSW Health aims to virtually eliminate HIV in NSW within five years. HIV has steadily declined over the past five years, with a large decrease in new diagnoses in 2020 partly due to the Covid-19 pandemic restricting movement and interactions.

Who is most at risk of HIV?

Men who have sex with men (MSM) are most likely to be newly infected with HIV. In NSW, HIV transmission between mother and child, as well as among drug users and female sex workers, has virtually been eliminated. However, it remains important for everyone to protect themselves against HIV in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

Who is the NSW HIV plan aimed towards?

The NSW HIV prevention plan is aimed towards MSM, especially those from different linguistic or cultural backgrounds who may not have had enough attention in previous efforts to reduce HIV transmission.

The HIV prevention plan will aim to:

  • Increase the speed of testing for at risk people arriving in Australia from overseas
  • Increase HIV testing rates
  • Increase uptake in PrEP usage.

What is PrEP?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an antiviral drug taken by HIV negative people who are at risk of contracting HIV. Though it does not protect from other STIs, PrEP can be highly effective in preventing the transmission of HIV.

Close up of fingers holding a blue pill.

The increased use of PrEP has proven extremely useful in lowering transmission rates of HIV.  Read more about accessing PrEP here.

Are you concerned about your HIV status?

Better2Know can help you arrange a confidential HIV test at a clinic near you. Speak to one of our highly trained sexual health advisors by phoning the 24/7 number at the top of the page or sending a message using our live chat.

Visit our website to read more about HIV.

Sources

[1] 7NEWS.COM.AU: NSW aiming for HIV elimination in 5 years

[2] ENDINGHIV.ORG.AU: PREP for HIV prevention

[3] AIDSMAP.COM: Australian gay men are using fewer condoms but are having more safer sex




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