Age (Australia) (10.24.03) - Friday, October 24, 2003
Professor Cindy Shannon, chair of the Indigenous Australians'
Sexual Health Committee, told an AIDS conference in Cairns
that HIV rates are rising in indigenous communities. She cited
23 new HIV cases among indigenous people in 2002, up from 12
in 2001. Heterosexual contact accounted for 40 percent of HIV
exposure, compared to 36 percent from male homosexual contact.
The heterosexual transmission rate was much higher than in the
non-indigenous population, where 73 percent of HIV exposure is
from homosexual contact. Shannon attributed 20 percent of
indigenous people's HIV diagnoses to drug use, compared to 4
percent among non-indigenous people. Shannon recommended
preventative strategies that focus on women, engagement with
stakeholder groups, and attention to indigenous populations in