The Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) has reported less than one per cent of the total Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) cases diagnosed in the state this year.
Of the total 131 new HIV cases between January and June this year in the state, only one person was detected with HIV in the local health district, which provides health services in major cities such as Dubbo, Bathurst and Orange.
Data accessed by Fairfax Media showed that WNSWLHD has been consistently reporting less than two per cent of the total HIV cases detected in the state for the past five years.
Ann Ryan, the WNSWLHD manager for HIV and related programs, said they were working towards the NSW Government’s commitment to eliminate HIV transmissions by 2020.
“Knowing your HIV status is a good thing. It means people with HIV can start treatment earlier, which not only has better health outcomes but also helps prevent it being passed on to others,” she said.
“Testing is now easy and fast with a variety of testing services which are free, easy and confidential, including the NSW dried blood spot (DBS) finger stick test which can be ordered online.”
The NSW Government recently said that it had detected 60 new cases of HIV between April and June and it was 27 per cent less than the average for the same period of the previous five years.
Of the 60 cases, 50 were detected among men who have sex with men (MSM) and the remaining 10 were related to heterosexuals.
“The declining trend in HIV notifications, in the context of high testing and treatment among people living with HIV, suggests that HIV transmissions in NSW are decreasing,” NSW Health recently said in a statement.
NSW Health has plans to invest $21.9 million to strengthen HIV testing, treatment and prevention in 2018-19.
Data further revealed that HIV cases were low in most regional local health districts, including the Nepean-Blue Mountains, which provides health services in Lithgow, and the Murrumbidgee, which services the Young and Boorowa areas.
Both local health districts had less than three per cent of the total HIV cases diagnosed in the past five years.
The HIV cases were mostly restricted to Sydney and its surrounding metros.
The South Eastern Sydney health district reported 92 HIV cases last year. It was followed by the Sydney health district (66 cases), the Western Sydney health district (29 cases), the Northern Sydney health district (29 cases), and South Western Sydney (15 cases).
This year, these districts also reported the highest number of new HIV cases.
Data showed that HIV was mostly detected in people aged between 20 and 50 years.