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Sharp rise in HIV infection cases in Victoria

There has been a sharp rise in the number of HIV cases in Victoria this year. The figures are in a position to reach the highest since the early 1990s//.

In Victoria, nearly 200 new HIV cases were reported in the first 7 months in 2006. There is an increase of 38% than at the same time last year. 129 cases were reported in the first 7 months in 2004.

The numbers have been on the rise since 1999, however, it rose alarmingly high last year. This sudden rise seems to continue this year. The total number of new HIV cases last year was 286. It was the maximum since 317 in 1991.

As a result, the state government is to spend $2.7 million on awareness programs on HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and on improvement of treatments. Health education campaigns, especially for gays will receive the funding.

Health Minister Bronwyn Pike said, “Increasing rates of HIV is a worldwide problem.” She said, “It appears that some complacency is emerging about the dangers of HIV.”

However, Victorian AIDS Council executive director Mike Kennedy said, “There was no evidence to suggest this. We think it's not about complacency, it's about complexity, and about the ways in which people are trying to live their sexual lives 20 years into the epidemic.”

Mr Kennedy said, “There are now more people living with HIV, so the risk of transmission is greater.”

Melbourne Sexual Health Centre director Christopher Fairley said, “There has been an increase in unprotected anal sex, but the new infections are linked to the bigger number of people living with HIV.”


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