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.

Exploring HIV risks, testing and prevention among sub-Saharan African community members in Australia

International Journal for Equity in Health, 2018, 17:62

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-018-0772-6

Abstract

Background

Significant health disparities persist regarding new and late HIV diagnoses among sub-Saharan African (SSA) communities in Australia. Personal/cultural beliefs and practices influence HIV (risk, prevention, testing) within Australia and during visits to home countries.

Method

A community forum was conducted involving 23 male and female adult African community workers, members and leaders, and health workers; facilitated by cultural workers and an experienced clinician/researcher. The forum comprised small/large group discussions regarding HIV risk/prevention (responses transcribed verbatim; utilising thematic analysis).

Results

Stigma, denial, social norms, tradition and culture permeated perceptions/beliefs regarding HIV testing, prevention and transmission among African Australians, particularly regarding return travel to home countries.

Conclusions

International travel as a risk factor for HIV acquisition requires further examination, as does the role of the doctor in HIV testing and Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). Further assessment of PrEP as an appropriate/feasible intervention is needed, with careful attention regarding negative community perceptions and potential impacts.

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.

Stillbirth more frequent in women with HIV in UK than in general population

nam/aidsmap, 01 August 2017

The stillbirth rate among women living with HIV in the UK and Ireland from 2007 to 2015 was more than twice that of the general population, Graziella Favarato, presenting on behalf of the National Study of HIV in Pregnancy and Childhood (NSHPC), told participants at the 9th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) in Paris last week.

Most women originated from a sub-Saharan African country, accounting for 0.9% of stillbirths (71/7752) while stillbirth among women from Europe or westernised countries accounted for 0.4% (8/2004).

Two-drug HIV therapy just as effective as three-drug therapy

aidsmap/nam, 25 October 2016

SImplification of an antiretroviral treatment to a boosted protease inhibitor and the nucleoside analogue lamivudine (a dual regimen) is highly effective in people switching from a stable three-drug regimen, researchers reported on Monday at the International Congress on Drug Therapy in HIV Infection (HIV Glasgow).

Read more here