Nature Magnitude and distribution of HIV-AIDS in Australia

Essay by lollypopgeorgeCollege, UndergraduateB, August 2007

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Human Immunodeficiency Virus – Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV-AIDS) is a terminal illness, which brings about a gradual deterioration in the bodies’ immune system, leaving the person vulnerable to disease and infections, which can result in death. HIV-AIDS carries with it a large social stigma for those who contract it because transmission is most predominant through homosexual contact. Several communities have a higher risk of being affected by HIV-AIDS and these factors tend to be gender, age, sexual orientation and area of living. While HIV-AIDS is not nearly as predominant an illness in Australia as, for example, cancers it has large social, economical and health impacts on those who contract it.

Since HIV-AIDS was first recorded in the late 1980’s there have been over 25,000 HIV and over 9000 AIDS diagnoses. It has been found that the population groups most affected and how the virus was transmitted influence the distribution of HIV-AIDS in Australia.

The main cause of transmission of HIV up to 2005 was male homosexual contact, which is supported by the fact that 92.8% of AIDS cases by 2002 were male. The next to transmission types in 2002 were heterosexual contact, which increased dramatically since 1993 (3.7%) to 2002 where it made up 17.6% of HIV exposures. Injecting drug use as a form of transmission has also increased slightly but is relatively small (3.8%) compared to homosexual and heterosexual contact.

Distribution of HIV-AIDS also varies within the states of Australia. Relative to population size New South Wales and Victoria have the highest number of diagnoses for both HIV and AIDS while Tasmania had the lowest number of diagnoses for both. However these differences reflect the larger homosexual populations in both NSW and Victoria than Tasmania. Age seems to also be a factor in AIDS diagnoses with the median age...