Local News

HIV Cases In Townsville Health District Increase - Qld Sees Decrease


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New cases of HIV in the Townsville Hospital and Health District have risen between 2018 and 2019.  

The Townsville Hospital and Health Service area takes in Townsville, Ayr, Ingham, Charters Towers, Palm Island, Richmond and Hughenden.

A spokesperson advised that there were eight cases of HIV reported in the region in 2019 and six in 2018, an increase of two.  

Across Queensland new diagnoses have fallen by 37 per-cent since 2014 according to Queensland Health.  

In 2019, 153 HIV notifications were reported, compared with 245 in 2014.

Cairns Base Hospital sexual health director Darren Russell told News Corp that finding more people with HIV meant they could be treated with anti-viral medication, preventing them from transmitting the virus to others.

“When people take the tablets each day, it means they can’t pass on HIV to anyone else,” Professor Russell told the publication.

He said another reason for the big drop in cases was the development of a drug combination referred to medically as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, used to prevent at-risk Queenslanders from developing HIV.

The medication combo has been subsidised on Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme since April 2018.

HIV infection is treated using Antiretroviral therapy (ART) according to Aids Info.  

People on this treatment take a combination of HIV medicines every day.  Aids Info advises that ART can't cure HIV, but helps people with the virus live longer, healthier lives.

For more information on HIV treatment please click here.  

By Michelle Brewer