NSW Labor response to NSW HIV notification data rate drop

In Parliament | 20.04.19

NSW Labor welcomed 2018 State data showing HIV notifications have fallen to the lowest level since surveillance began 35 years ago in 1984 – but cautioned that the NSW Government’s claim that it would eliminate the disease by 2020 was “premature”.

NSW Interim Labor leader Penny Sharpe and Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord also called on the Berejiklian Government to tailor education and social media campaigns to better engage with culturally and linguistically diverse men – as more than half of newly diagnosed cases last year were born overseas.

They were referring to a Fairfax media report – “HIV Infection rates in NSW hit record low, but there are concerns”. 


“NSW is a world leader in the prevention and spread of HIV. This is incredible news and a great achievement,” Ms Sharpe said.

Mr Secord said while the data was reassuring, he felt NSW Government August 2017 claims that HIV transmission would be virtually eliminated by 2020 was “premature”.

“NSW Labor provides its bipartisan support to the current approach, but would like to see the Berejiklian Government look at ways to get the message to overseas-born men.” Mr Secord said.

Overall, for 2018, only 278 NSW residents were notified to NSW Health with newly diagnosed HIV infection.

This is 17 per cent fewer than the 2013-2017 average of 335.6 cases a year.


NSW HIV notifications













Of the 278 cases, 78 per cent were through men who have sex with men (MSM) and 19 per cent were reported to have had heterosexual exposure to HIV.

Forty-four per cent (94) of the MSM cases were born in Australia and 56 per cent (121) were born overseas.

NSW Labor congratulated ACON, NSW’s leading HIV prevention and support organisation for its work in this area – and acknowledged the work of the previous O’Farrell-Baird Health Minister Jillian Skinner for her work in the field.

Health experts have attributed NSW improvements to and the high uptake in PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to the reduction in the number of cases.

PrEP is the use of antiretroviral drugs traditionally used to treat HIV infection to prevent the infection of those at risk.

From March 1, 2016, PrEP was made available- in a NSW Health trial – to 9,477 people at risk of HIV and in April 2018, it was listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.