New South Wales, Australia – Health officials are optimistic that a jump in the number of HIV tests performed in NSW is a sign the battle against the virus is being won.
From March to June, more than 11,000 tests were performed at the state’s public sexual health clinics, a 36 per cent increase on the same period last year. Of those tests, 87 per cent were among men who have sex with men, the highest risk group for HIV.
Almost 118,000 serology tests were performed in NSW, an increase of 13 per cent from 2012, according to a forthcoming report from NSW Health.
The extra tests did not produce any significant jump in the number of HIV diagnoses, which authorities have welcomed as an early indication the state’s Ending HIV strategy is working.
“For the first six months of this year, we’ve actually seen the fewest number of notifications that we’ve seen … for quite a number of years,” said Health Protection NSW epidemiologist Christine Selvey.
“We’re cautiously thinking this is a good sign, and maybe we’re starting to see an impact.”