NSW Health has today announced that HIV diagnoses in NSW have continued to remain stable for another year.
Surveillance data released today by NSW Health recorded 327 new HIV notifications in 2009 compared with 323 in 2008, including a decrease among men who have sex with men from 75% of notifications to 72%.
ACON director, Nik Parkhill - who's organisation has the respobility of educating the GLBTI community about safe sex in NSW stated, “While the pattern of HIV transmission has remained fairly similar, the 2009 HIV surveillance data, as well as other behavioural data, is telling us that more attention needs to be given to increasing the use of condoms as well as the rate of HIV and STI testing among gay men.
“Recent behavioural data indicates a 4.4% rise in the number of gay men not using condoms with casual partners from 29.7% in 2007 to 35.1% in 2010.
“This shows we need to work harder at reinforcing our safe sex messages and helping gay men understand that using condoms and water-based lube remains the most effective way to prevent HIV transmission.”
“After almost three decades of promoting condom use to gay men, finding ways to reinvent our safe sex messages to ensure they’re relevant, engaging and effective is a challenge. However, we’re addressing this issue through a range of new approaches including an increased focus on social media and online communities.”
The new HIV data comes on the back of Australia wide warnings about new infections and outbreaks of other STI's / STD's, with some specifically breaking out in the gay male population.
For more information on these outbreaks, assistance and advice regarding your sexual health, please contact your states community health organisation.