Two-Speed HIV/AIDS Epidemic Occurring In Australia

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

A "two-speed" HIV/AIDS epidemic is taking place in Australia, Jonathan Anderson, president of the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine, writes in an Australian opinion piece. Rates among men who have sex with men "have been rising in Australia since the start of the decade," Anderson writes, adding that at the "same time, infections in new populations -- such as Australian heterosexual men traveling overseas for sex -- have highlighted the need for more sophisticated and complex responses."

In the region surrounding Australia, countries such as Papua New Guinea have "rising rates of infection, law and order issues, multiple sex partners, sexual violence and homophobia" that "make tackling the problem challenging," Anderson writes. He adds, "Imposing outside solutions may do more harm than good. Recent improvement in relations at a government level is likely to help facilitate the already established partnerships of professionals and community organizations."


According to Anderson, HIV treatment and prevention have "often seemed on parallel but separate tracks." He adds that at the XVII International AIDS Conference last month in Mexico City, they "finally married" through discussions about "'new prevention technologies, such as microbicides, circumcision and pre-exposure prophylaxis with antiretrovirals."

Australia, "more than ever, has a major role to play on both the domestic and international stages," Anderson writes, adding that as "we enter the second quarter of a century living with HIV/AIDS, it is clear that we need to collectively move our energies to the new shifting complexities emerging in tackling the virus" (Anderson, Australian, 9/13).

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