Apart from Mardi Gras, another important time of the year for us is the release of the Kirby Institute’s annual sexual health data. We’re obsessed with sexual health & HIV prevention so getting our hands on the hard cold facts spurns us on in our quest to curb (and even eradicate) STIs in Australia. In order to do what we do, we need to know how Aussie’s are faring when it comes to sexual health.
‘HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia Annual surveillance report 2022‘ is a fascinating read and we want to share the main points relating to HIV.
The 2021 deets…
- Male‑to‑male sex continues to be the major HIV risk exposure = 378 (68%) HIV notifications.
- Heterosexual sex = 148 (27%) notifications.
- Injection drug use = 9 (less than 2%) notifications.
In 2021, the majority (76.2%) of HIV‑negative gay & bisexual men reporting having had casual partners were regularly using at least 1 strategy to protect against HIV acquisition.
- avoiding anal sex
- using condoms
- biomedical prevention. (like PrEP!)
This is up from 69.4% in 2014 and we LOVE to see it.
(according to the Gay Community Periodic Surveys)
More on PrEP…
- Of those eligible for PrEP in 2021, 97% were aware of PrEP (up from 87.1% in 2018)
- 50.5% reported using prescribed PrEP in the past 6 months (up from 40.1% in 2018, but down from 53.0% in 2019 due to how COVID interrupted everything for everyone). All things considered we are really pleased!
- PrEP became available to eligible individuals through listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) in April 2018. From then until the end of 2021: 51,898 people had ever taken ; 22,024 had taken PrEP in the last 3 months & 34,944 people had taken PrEP in the last 12 months. (We know y’all were some of those and we are PROUD)
About that pandemic…
COVID-19 interfered with people’s regular testing regimes. ‘Testing and PrEP uptake needs to increase further, across all jurisdictions to have the greatest benefit, particularly in the contexts of declines in testing during the COVID‑19 pandemic.’ We know we say this a lot – but please keep up a regular STI testing schedule.
Some encouraging news…
Australia’s prevalence of HIV in 2021 is estimated at 0.14% which is low compared to other high-income & Asia-pacific countries. This is encouraging.
77% of people living with HIV in Australia have achieved viral suppression, and this is below the UNAIDS 2025 target of 86%. To achieve this, The Kirby Report 2022 states that, ‘Australia must address legal frameworks that create barriers to health care access and undermine the investment in public health measures to address HIV. These legal barriers reinforce stigma directed at populations at risk of acquiring HIV as well as at those people living with HIV.’
At PrEP Health we are all about removing stigmas to adequate & essential healthcare & continue to support the HIV positive community as well as those at risk of HIV acquisition.
Have a read of the Report here and share your thoughts with us.