PAGE MP Janelle Saffin and Federal Minister for health Tanya Plibersek with MRI radiographers Paul Green and Dean Hunt at Lismore Base Hospital this week.
PAGE MP Janelle Saffin and Federal Minister for health Tanya Plibersek with MRI radiographers Paul Green and Dean Hunt at Lismore Base Hospital this week.

Minister concerned about HIV rate

FEDERAL Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek says she is "very concerned" about an increased rise on the number of HIV infections in Australia in the last 10 years.

Speaking during a visit to Lismore, Ms Plibersek said the reason Australia had been successful curving infection rates in the past was "because we have a really strong partnership with affected communities and because we have been very pragmatic in our approach".

"The reason Australia has been so successful by world standards is because we focused on safe sex messages, enabling syringe programs, and things that do make a practical difference to infection rates," she said.

"I am very strongly committed to keeping that pragmatic approach and partnership with affected communities.

Ms Plibersek said she had been "talking to and working with doctors, researchers and activists in HIV to look at the potential of point of care testing, wrapper testing and other interventions that might make a difference".

She had asked for a mid-term review of the National HIV Strategy, which is expected to be completed in the next couple of months.

The annual surveillance study into sexually transmitted diseases in Australia showed the latest rise contributes to a 50 per cent growth in infection rates over the past 10 years.

The report also shows diseases like gonorrhoea and chlamydia becoming more common.

There were 1,137 new HIV diagnoses in 2011, up from 719 in 1999.


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