AIDS epidemic is no longer a public health issue in Australia

Posted Jul 11, 2016 by Owen Weldon
Australia's top scientists have declared the end of AIDS as a public health issue. The country now joins a few other countries that have beaten the AIDS epidemic.
The human immunodeficiency virus as seen via an electron micrograph
The human immunodeficiency virus as seen via an electron micrograph
Wikimedia Commons
Researchers from the Australian Federation of AIDS and the Kirby and Peter Doherty institutes were the ones that made the announcement.
Since anti-retroviral medications have been out, AIDS cases in the country have significantly dropped. The medications, which arrived in the 90s, stop HIV from progressing to AIDS. AIDS causes severe damage to the immune system and the body is unable to fight off the infection.
When AIDS was at its peak in the early 90s, an average of 1,000 Australians died from it each year.
Professor Andrew Grulich, the head of the HIV Epidemiology and Prevention Program at Australia's Kirby Institute, said they don't monitor AIDS these days. The professor added that it's more of a transitory thing for most people; they have AIDS, then they receive treatment and then they don't have it anymore.
Grulich said the only AIDS cases they see these days are people who have HIV that hasn't been diagnosed and so they can't be treated.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Department of Health said it was tremendous that AIDS is no longer considered to be the death sentence it once was, but they shouldn't let their guard down.
Around the world there are approximately 36 million people living with HIV. Around 180,000 people died from AIDS in the Asia-Pacific region last year.
Last month, the United Nations agreed on a new declaration on ending the worldwide AIDS epidemic.