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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
Indigenous HIV Rates Rising

October 24, 2003
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 prisons.