HIV diagnoses in migrant populations in Australia: a changing epidemiology

PLoS ONE ,14(2): e0212268. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0212268

Abstract

Introduction

We conducted a detailed analysis of trends in new HIV diagnoses in Australia by country of birth, to understand any changes in epidemiology, relationship to migration patterns and implications for public health programs.

Methods

Poisson regression analyses were performed, comparing the age-standardised HIV diagnosis rates per 100,000 estimated resident population between 2006–2010 and 2011–2015 by region of birth, with stratification by exposure (male-to-male sex, heterosexual sex–males and females). Correlation between the number of permanent and long-term arrivals was also explored using linear regression models.

Results

Between 2006 and 2015, there were 6,741 new HIV diagnoses attributed to male-to-male sex and 2,093 attributed to heterosexual sex, with the proportion of diagnoses attributed to male-to-male sex who were Australian-born decreasing from 72.5% to 66.5%. Compared with 2006–2010, the average annual HIV diagnosis rate per 100,000 in 2011–15 attributed to male-to-male sex was significantly higher in men born in South-East Asia (summary rate ratio (SRR) = 1.37, p = 0.001), North-East Asia (SRR = 2.18, p<0.001) and the Americas (SRR = 1.37, p = 0.025), but significantly lower as a result of heterosexual sex in men born in South-East Asia (SRR = 0.49, p = 0.002), Southern and Central Asia (SRR = 0.50, p = 0.014) and Sub-Saharan Africa (SRR = 0.39, p<0.001) and women born in South-East Asia (SRR = 0.61, p = 0.002) and Sub-Saharan Africa (SRR = 0.61, p<0.001). Positive associations were observed between the number of permanent and long-term arrivals and HIV diagnoses particularly in relation to diagnoses associated with male-to-male sex in men from North Africa and the Middle East, North Asia, Southern and Central Asia and the Americas.

Conclusion

The epidemiology of HIV in Australia is changing, with an increase in HIV diagnosis rates attributed to male-to-male sex amongst men born in Asia and the Americas. Tailored strategies must be developed to increase access to, and uptake of, prevention, testing and treatment in this group.

 

HIV diagnoses hit seven year low: Australia’s annual HIV figures released

Kirby Institute, UNSW, Monday, 24 September 2018

Australia has recorded its lowest level of HIV diagnoses in seven years, according to a new report from the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney.

The report, released at the Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference in Sydney, found that there were 963 new HIV diagnoses in 2017, the lowest number since 2010.

Researchers are attributing the promising results to more people getting tested for HIV, more people living with HIV starting treatment which reduces the risk of HIV transmission to effectively zero, and an increased use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP, an HIV prevention pill).

However, it is not all good news. According to the report, a quarter of new HIV diagnoses in 2017 were among heterosexuals, with a 10% increase in diagnoses over the past five years.

Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, HIV diagnoses have been increasing over the past five years, with rates almost two times higher than the Australian-born non-Indigenous population in 2017.

Barriers to HIV testing for people born in Southeast Asia & sub-Saharan Africa

Curtin University,  2017

Over the past decade Australia has seen an increase in HIV notifications among people born in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South East Asia (SEA).

People born in these regions have the highest rates of HIV diagnosis by region of birth and are overrepresented in late or advanced presentations of HIV infection.

Previous research indicates that migrants from SSA and SEA attend health services in Australia regularly, but only 50% have ever tested for HIV.

This report provides a brief overview of the preliminary results from the Barriers to HIV
testing project – a qualitative research project using focus groups and in-depth interviews to explore the barriers and enablers to HIV testing among priority communities born in SSA and SEA, to better understand the factors influencing late
diagnosis.

Documentary gives insight into risks of sexual assault among Australia’s international students

ABC NewsRadio Breakfast, First posted 27/04/2018 at 09:02:46
Half a million international students, most from Asia, are enrolled to study in Australia. It’s the country’s third largest export industry, worth $18 billion.

But Australia’s reputation as a safe and sunny place to study is under threat after widespread disclosures of rape and sexual assault.

Australia: Rape on Campus follows a six-month investigation into sexual assault at the country’s universities, exploring how international students, far from home and family, are especially at risk.

It follows an Australian Human Rights Commission survey which found 1.6 percent of students experienced sexual assault in a university setting in 2015 or 2016, one in five were international students.

Journalist Aela Callan is behind the documentary and she spoke to ABC’s Fiona Ellis-Jones from Berlin.

Her documentary, Australia: Rape on Campus, will be screened on Al Jazeera.

Two cases of multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea recently detected in Australia: media release

Professor Brendan Murphy, Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, Australian Government Department of Health 

17 April 2018

Two cases of multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea have been recently detected in Australia. One case was diagnosed in Western Australia and a second case diagnosed in Queensland. 

Multi-drug resistant strains can be difficult to treat and it is important to prevent further spread.

Evidence suggests that one of the Australian cases acquired their infection in Southeast Asia.

The situation is being closely monitored by public health authorities.

Sex education gap haunts Australia’s international students

SBS News, March 2nd, 2018

High numbers of international students with unwanted pregnancies is prompting questions about whether more could be done to better prepare those with little sexual health knowledge for life in Australia.

Marie Stopes Australia, a national provider of sexual and reproductive health services, estimated 4000 international students seek abortions across the country each year.