Provides a comprehensive analysis of HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia and includes estimates of incidence and prevalence of HIV and viral hepatitides, by demographic and risk groups, patterns of treatment for HIV and viral hepatitis infection, and behavioural risk factors for HIV and hepatitis C infection.
A total of 1 236 cases of newly diagnosed HIV infection was notified in Australia in 2013, similar to the number notified in 2012 (1 253). The rate of HIV diagnosis per 100 000 population increased from around 4.7 in 2004 – 2008 to 5.1 in 2009 – 2013.
An estimated 26 800 people were living with HIV infection in Australia at the end of 2013.
Trends in newly diagnosed HIV infection have differed across State and Territory health jurisdictions. InNew South Wales, the rate of HIV diagnosis per 100 000 population declined steadily from around 6.1 in 2004 – 2008 to 5.5 in 2009 – 2013. In Victoria, the rate was stable at around 5.4 in 2004 – 2008 and 5.5 in 2009 – 2013. Population rates of HIV diagnosis increased in Queensland, from around 4.4 in 2004 to 2008, to 5.1 from 2009 to 2013, and in Western Australia, from 3.6 to 4.2. The rates of HIV diagnosis in the less populous jurisdictions with relatively few cases compared with the more populous jurisdictions show considerable variation from year to year. The rate of HIV diagnosis increased in the Australian Capital Territory from 2.0 in 2004 – 2008 to 3.7 in the five years 2009 – 2013, in the Northern Territory from 3.5 to 6.8, and in Tasmania, from 1.6 to 2.7, whereas in South Australia the rate remained stable at 3.6 and 3.4.
HIV continued to be transmitted primarily through sexual contact between men, accounting for 71% of new HIV diagnoses in 2013.
The number of notifications of newly acquired HIV infection in Australia increased from 261 in 2004 to 350 in 2013. Notifications of newly acquired HIV infection indicate the lower bound to the number of cases of recent HIV transmission that have actually occurred in Australia.
The per capita rate of HIV diagnosis in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population was similar to that in the Australian‑born non‑Indigenous population during the years from 2004 to 2011 and was higher in 2012 and 2013. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cases of HIV infection differed from Australian‑bor non‑Indigenous cases newly diagnosed in the five years from 2009 to 2013 in that a substantially greater proportion were attributed to injecting drug use (12% compared with 3%) and heterosexual contact (21% compared with 13%). A substantially higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cases were among women (20%) compared with Australian‑born non‑Indigenous cases (5%).
Of 1 417 cases of HIV infection newly diagnosed in 2009 – 2013, for which exposure to HIV was attributed to heterosexual contact, 56% were in people from high prevalence countries or their partners.
The per capita rate of notification of hepatitis B infection in Australia in 2009 – 2013 was stable at around 31 per 100 000 population. The rate of notification of newly acquired hepatitis B infection steadily declined in Australia from 1.2 in 2009 to 0.7 per 100 000 population in 2013.
An estimated 210 000 people were living in Australia in 2013 with hepatitis B infection. An estimated 389 (300 – 635) deaths in 2013 were attributable to chronic hepatitis B infection. The estimated prevalence of chronic hepatitis B infection in the Australian population in 2013 was 0.97%.
The per capita rate of diagnosis of hepatitis C antibody declined from 52.7 in 2009 to 46.3 per 100 000 population in 2013. The rate of diagnosis of hepatitis C antibody in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population was more than three times the rate in the non‑Indigenous population in 2013.
An estimated 230 000 people were living in Australia with chronic hepatitis C infection, including 80 000 with moderate to severe liver disease. The estimated number of people living with moderate to severe liver disease has more than doubled (115% increase) over the past ten years. An estimated 630 (400 – 880) deaths attributable to chronic hepatitis C infection occurred in 2013.
Chronic hepatitis B infection and chronic hepatitis C infection was the underlying cause of liver disease in 8 (3.6%) and 67 (30.2%) of 222 liver transplants in 2013.
The reported annual number of notifications of newly acquired hepatitis C infection was stable at around 410 cases per year in 2009 – 2013 and accounted for 4% of new hepatitis C diagnoses in 2013.
Based on reported cases, hepatitis B and hepatitis C transmission in Australia continued to occur predominantly among people with a recent history of injecting drug use.
The proportion of people seen at needle and syringe programs who reported having injected drugs for five years or less was stable in 2009 – 2013 at around 11%. Within this group, hepatitis C prevalence declined from 21% in 2011 to 14% in 2013.