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HIV statistics in Australia

An estimated 25,313 people in Australia live with HIV. In 2014, 1,025 people were diagnosed with HIV, with the majority of new HIV diagnoses  (68%) occurring among gay and bisexual men. 

The number of new HIV  diagnoses in Australia has remained stable over the past three years, with just over 1,000 new cases of cases of HIV being diagnosed each year from 2013-2015.

Australia's HIV response is evidence based, and annual reports on HIV data inform the development of strategies to minimise HIV transmission and support people living with HIV.

Annual reports on Australian HIV surveillance data have been published each year since 1997 by the Kirby Institute.

The information on this page is drawn from the HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia Annual Surveillance Report 2016.

Data snapshot

(For the year ending 31 December 2015).

Total diagnoses: By 31 December 2015, 36,171 cases of HIV had been diagnosed in Australia since the first diagnoses in 1984.

People with HIV: At the end of 2015, an estimated 25,313 people were living with HIV in Australia, of whom an estimated 2,619 (10%) were unaware of their HIV-positive status.

Of the 1025 people diagnosed with HIV in 2015, 915 (89%) are men. Among 205 infants born to HIV-positive mothers in the years 2011 - 2015, the transmission rate to newborns was 1.5%.

Late diagnosis: Tests for immune function determined that over a quarter (29%) of new HIV diagnoses in Australia in 2015 were diagnosed late (i.e. among people likely to have been living with HIV for at least four years without being tested).

HIV diagnoses: In 2015, 1,025 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in Australia.

The annual number of new HIV diagnoses gradually increased over the past 15 years, from 719 diagnoses in 1999 to 1,081 in 2012.

The number of new HIV diagnoses in Australia has stabilised over the past three years, with 1,028 cases in 2013; 1,081 cases in 2014; and 1,025 in 2015.

The stabilisation of new diagnoses since 2012 is largely attributable to a doubling of HIV testing rates in Australia and efforts to encourage earlier access to HIV treatments; this has been driven by increasing evidence about improved health outcomes for people with HIV who access antiretroviral treatment early and a reduced risk of onward transmission of HIV for people on antiretroviral treatment.

Treatments access: Of the estimated 22,694 (90%) people with HIV in Australia who were aware of their HIV-positive status at end of 2015, an estimated 19,051 (84%) were receiving antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. 92% of people accessing ARV treatment were estimated to have an undetectable viral load.

These figures compare well to the UN '90-90-90' targets i.e., that by 2020, 90% of people living with HIV know their status, 90% of people diagnosed with HIV are on treatment, and 90% of people on treatment have suppressed viral loads.

HIV transmission: HIV continues to be transmitted primarily among men who have sex with men.

In 2015:

  • 68% of transmissions occurred among men who have sex with men
  • 5% of transmissions were attributed to either male-to-male sex and injecting drug use
  • 20% of transmissions were attributed to heterosexual sex
  • 3% of transmissions were attributed to injecting drug use, and
  • for 4% of transmissions, the mode of transmission was undetermined
More info on men

More info on women

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people:

  • Among the total of 1,025 notifications of newly diagnosed HIV infection reported in 2015, 38 were identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
  • Between 2013 - 2015, the notification rate of newly diagnosed HIV infection was higher for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population compared to the non-Indigenous Australian-born population (6.8 vs. 5.9 per 100 000 in 2015).
  • The notification rates of newly diagnosed HIV infection in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population are based on small numbers, and may reflect localised occurrences rather than national patterns.
  • In the five-year period 2011 - 2015, a higher proportion of notifications of newly diagnosed HIV infection among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population were attributed to injecting drug use (16% vs. 3%) and heterosexual sex (21% vs. 14%) .
  • Based on tests for immune function, in 2015 a third (30%) of the new HIV diagnoses among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population were determined to be late, in that they were in people who were likely to have had the infection for at least 4 years without being tested.

The higher rate of HIV diagnosis in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the past five years requires a strengthened focus on prevention in this vulnerable population.

People from high HIV prevalence countries: In addition to the 1,025 newly diagnosed cases of HIV in 2015, there were 218 HIV cases previously diagnosed overseas with a confirmatory test conducted in Australia.

Around 25% of all diagnoses between 2009 and 2013 (more recent data not available) were among people born in countries with high rates of HIV. A large proportion of these diagnoses were among heterosexuals.

Among 201 cases of HIV diagnosed in 2014 and attributed to heterosexual sex, 36% were in people born in countries recognised by UNAIDS as having a national HIV prevalence above 1%, and 16% were in people with sexual partners who were born in these countries.

AIDS diagnoses: The annual number of AIDS diagnoses in Australia peaked in 1994, at 953 cases.

AIDS diagnoses then declined rapidly following the introduction of effective combination antiretroviral therapy.

There are now few people diagnosed with AIDS in Australia and it is no longer a notifiable disease (i.e. required by law to be reported to the Health Department).

 

 


This page was published on 15 October, 2012

This page was reviewed on 16 September 2015