Every quarter, NSW Health releases a comprehensive report of HIV data within the state. Earlier this month, the report from this previous quarter (July to September) was made available and gives us an overview as to how we are progressing towards achieving our goal of ending the epidemic. Here’s a snapshot.
There were 88 people diagnosed with HIV this last quarter giving a total of 247 so far this year. This number may seem large, and indeed any number is of significance, but statistically this shows that so far this year (January to September) we’ve had the lowest amount of new diagnoses since 2010!
Identifying new cases of HIV is only made possible with more frequent and regular testing, which the data also indicates positively of. Since last year there’s been a 15% increase in HIV tests over the same period and a 30% increase since 2012.
The report also tells us that around 91% of people living with HIV are on treatment, and that’s a fantastic figure. We know that treatment allows those who are HIV positive to live near-normal lives but it’s also crucial to preventing onward transmission.
Year on year we’ve seen a drop in new HIV notifications for the same period which is reassuring news. It tells us that we as a community are doing something right, but if we are to see the virtual elimination of HIV in NSW we need to keep up the pace by testing more often, treating HIV sooner and maintaining safe sex practices.