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What Has Been Done To Address Hiv Aids In Australia

1314 words - 5 pages

Since Human Immunodeficiency Virus - Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV-AIDS) was first recorded in Australia in the late 1980's there have been several public health strategies which have been used to address HIV-AIDS. These strategies have been put in place by the Australian Governments in conjunction with Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) and have included sex education programs through media and community health services as well as schools they have largely promoted condom use as the best form of HIV prevention. Also the introduction of safe injection facilities and improved screening of blood tissue and uterus' have contributed to the decrease in AIDS incidence and prevalence in Australia over the last 20 years.Sexual contact is the main cause of HIV transmission in Australia, with heterosexual contact making up 21.9% of transmissions in 2002 (Australian Bureau of Statistics - ABS, 2007) and homosexual contact making up 70.6% of transmission in the same year (ABS, 2007). In order to decrease these figures sexual education on the benefits of consistent condom use have been spread through communities via sex education programs and by health centres (AFAO, 2005a). Studies (Davis-Batey & Weller, 2001; and Pinkerton & Ambramson, 1997) have found that in a homosexual or heterosexual relationship where one partner is HIV positive consistent condom use can reduce HIV incidence by over 80%. It is believed that increased condom use has led to the decrease in heterosexual HIV transmission over the last 20 years to 19% in 2005(ABS, 2007). However, several issues have been raised with the results of these studies. There is no report on the 'correctness' of the condom use, for example if it was put on correctly every single time (Davis-Batey & Weller, 2001) or if it was used for each and every single act of intercourse(Pinkerton & Ambramson, 1997). It has also been found that only latex condoms are an effective physical barrier to the HIV virus, other condoms, for example made from natural materials, do not provide this physical barrier to HIV (Pinkerton & Ambramson, 1997) which needs to be made clear to persons at risk of contracting HIV through sexual contact. Despite the study flaws, latex condoms remain the most effective prevention strategy for HIV transmission (AFAO, 2005a) and should be promoted as such. It must also be noted that during the period of 2002-2005 homosexual transmission actually increased to 76.8% (ABS, 2007). It is suggested that HIV prevention requires information, motivation and behavioural skills and the provision or facts on condom effectiveness will not be enough alone to prevent HIV transmission (AFAO, 2005b). Motivation for preventing transmission, especially on the part of the HIV positive person are required for consistent condom use to become an effective tool in preventing homosexual HIV transmission (AFAO, 2005b). As well as promoting safe sex practices, providing safe injecting...

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